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Title: Potential Land Competition Between Open-Pond Microalgae Production and Terrestrial Dedicated Feedstock Supply Systems in the U.S.

Biofuels produced from both terrestrial and algal biomass feedstocks can contribute to energy security while providing economic, environmental, and social benefits. To assess the potential for land competition between these two feedstock types in the United States, we evaluate a scenario in which 41.5 x 109 L yr-1 of second-generation biofuels are produced on pastureland, the most likely land base where both feedstock types may be deployed. This total includes 12.0 x 109 L yr-1 of biofuels from open-pond microalgae production and 29.5 x 109 L yr-1 of biofuels from terrestrial dedicated feedstock supply systems. Under these scenarios, open-pond microalgae production is projected to use 1.2 million ha of private pastureland, while terrestrial dedicated feedstock supply systems would use 14.0 million ha of private pastureland. A spatial meta-analysis indicates that potential competition for land under these scenarios would be concentrated in 110 counties, containing 1.0 and 1.7 million hectares of algal and terrestrial dedicated feedstock production, respectively. A land competition index applied to these 110 counties suggests that 38 to 59 counties could experience competition for upwards of 40% of a county’s pastureland. However, this combined 2.7 million ha represents only 2%-5% of total pastureland in the U.S., with themore » remaining 12.5 million ha of algal or terrestrial dedicated feedstock production on pastureland in non-competing areas.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Renewable Energy, 93:201-214
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
agricultural policy analysis; bioenergy; microalgae; land use