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Title: Sustainable Harvest for Food and Fuel

Abstract

The DOE Biomass Program recently implemented the Biofuels Initiative, or 30x30 program, with the dual goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by making cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with gasoline by 2012 and by replacing 30 percent of gasoline consumption with biofuels by 2030. Experience to date with increasing ethanol production suggests that it distorts agricultural markets and therefore raises concerns about the sustainability of the DOE 30 X 30 effort: Can the U.S. agricultural system produce sufficient feedstocks for biofuel production and meet the food price and availability expectations of American consumers without causing environmental degradation that would curtail the production of both food and fuel? Efforts are underway to develop computer-based modeling tools that address this concern and support the DOE 30 X 30 goals. Beyond technical agronomic and economic concerns, however, such models must account for the publics’ growing interest in sustainable agriculture and in the mitigation of predicted global climate change. This paper discusses ongoing work at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies that investigates the potential consequences and long-term sustainability of projected biomass harvests by identifying and incorporating “sustainable harvest indicators” in a computer modeling strategy.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - EE
OSTI Identifier:
912902
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-07-12655
TRN: US200802%%441
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Idaho Academy of Science 49th Annual Meeting and Symposium,Idaho Falls, Idaho,04/19/2007,04/21/2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 - BIOMASS FUELS, 29 - ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; AGRICULTURE; AVAILABILITY; BIOFUELS; BIOMASS; CLIMATIC CHANGE; COMPUTERS; ECONOMICS; ETHANOL; FOOD; GASOLINE; MITIGATION; PRICES; PRODUCTION; SIMULATION; biomass; DOE 30 X 30 program; sustainability

Citation Formats

Grosshans, Raymond R., Kostelnik, Kevin, M., and Jacobson, Jacob J.. Sustainable Harvest for Food and Fuel. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/915529.
Grosshans, Raymond R., Kostelnik, Kevin, M., & Jacobson, Jacob J.. Sustainable Harvest for Food and Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/915529.
Grosshans, Raymond R., Kostelnik, Kevin, M., and Jacobson, Jacob J.. Sun . "Sustainable Harvest for Food and Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/915529. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/912902.
@article{osti_912902,
title = {Sustainable Harvest for Food and Fuel},
author = {Grosshans, Raymond R. and Kostelnik, Kevin, M. and Jacobson, Jacob J.},
abstractNote = {The DOE Biomass Program recently implemented the Biofuels Initiative, or 30x30 program, with the dual goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by making cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with gasoline by 2012 and by replacing 30 percent of gasoline consumption with biofuels by 2030. Experience to date with increasing ethanol production suggests that it distorts agricultural markets and therefore raises concerns about the sustainability of the DOE 30 X 30 effort: Can the U.S. agricultural system produce sufficient feedstocks for biofuel production and meet the food price and availability expectations of American consumers without causing environmental degradation that would curtail the production of both food and fuel? Efforts are underway to develop computer-based modeling tools that address this concern and support the DOE 30 X 30 goals. Beyond technical agronomic and economic concerns, however, such models must account for the publics’ growing interest in sustainable agriculture and in the mitigation of predicted global climate change. This paper discusses ongoing work at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies that investigates the potential consequences and long-term sustainability of projected biomass harvests by identifying and incorporating “sustainable harvest indicators” in a computer modeling strategy.},
doi = {10.2172/915529},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

Conference:
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  • To promote economic growth and energy security, and to protect the environment, the U.S. is pursuing a national strategy of energy independence and climatic protection in which domestic renewable carbon-neutral biofuels displace 30 percent of U.S. oil consumption by the mid-21st century. Such fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, will be produced from biological feed stocks (biomass). The availability of this billion-ton biomass will hinge on the application of modern scientific and engineering tools to create a highly-integrated biofuel production system. Efforts are underway to identify and develop energy crops, ranging from agricultural residues to genetically engineered perennials; to develop biology-basedmore » processing methods; and, to develop large-scale biorefineries to economically convert biomass into fuels. In addition to advancing the biomass-to-biofuel research and development agenda, policy makers are concurrently defining the correct mix of governmental supports and regulations. Given the volumes of biomass and fuels that must flow to successfully enact a national biomass strategy, policies must encourage large-scale markets to form and expand around a tightly integrated system of farmers, fuel producers and transporters, and markets over the course of decades. In formulating such policies, policy makers must address the complex interactions of social, technical, economic, and environmental factors that bound energy production and use. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The INL Bioenergy Program supports the DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Key multidisciplinary INL capabilities are being leveraged to address major science and technology needs associated with the cost-effective utilization of biomass. INL’s whole crop utilization (WCU) vision is focused on the use of the entire crop, including both the grain and traditionally discarded plant biomass to produce food, feed, fiber, energy, and value-added products.« less
  • The DOE Biomass Program recently implemented the Biofuels Initiative, or 30x30 program, with the dual goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by making cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with gasoline by 2012 and by replacing 30 percent of gasoline consumption with biofuels by 2030. Experience to date with increasing ethanol production suggests that it distorts agricultural markets and therefore raises concerns about the sustainability of the DOE 30x30 effort: Can the U.S. agricultural system produce sufficient feedstocks for biofuel production and meet the food price and availability expectations of American consumers without causing environmental degradation that would curtail themore » production of both food and fuel? Efforts are underway to develop computer-based modeling tools that address this concern and support the DOE 30x30 goals. Beyond technical agronomic and economic concerns, however, such models must account for the publics’ growing interest in sustainable agriculture and in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This paper discusses ongoing work at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies that investigates the potential consequences and long-term sustainability of projected biomass harvests by identifying and incorporating “sustainable harvest indicators” in a computer modeling strategy.« less
  • In this work, we investigate a number of fuel assembly design options for a BWR core operating in a closed self-sustainable Th-{sup 233}U fuel cycle. The designs rely on axially heterogeneous fuel assembly structure in order to improve fertile to fissile conversion ratio. One of the main assumptions of the current study was to restrict the fuel assembly geometry to a single axial fissile zone 'sandwiched' between two fertile blanket zones. The main objective was to study the effect of the most important design parameters, such as dimensions of fissile and fertile zones and average void fraction, on the netmore » breeding of {sup 233}U. The main design challenge in this respect is that the fuel breeding potential is at odds with axial power peaking and therefore limits the maximum achievable core power rating. The calculations were performed with BGCore system, which consists of MCNP code coupled with fuel depletion and thermo-hydraulic feedback modules. A single 3-dimensional fuel assembly with reflective radial boundaries was modeled applying simplified restrictions on maximum central line fuel temperature and Critical Power Ratio. It was found that axially heterogeneous fuel assembly design with single fissile zone can potentially achieve net breeding. In this case however, the achievable core power density is roughly one third of the reference BWR core. (authors)« less
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  • As concluded by many global energy system analysts, hundreds of reactors will be burning recycled fuel as they supply a significant fraction of the world energy for this century and beyond. An expanding world population and rising expectations of citizens of emerging economies will stimulate a global energy demand that can only be met if nuclear makes up a significant fraction of the supply mix. Restrictions on carbon emissions will only add urgency to reducing reliance on fossil-fueled power plants. Just as today's commercial nuclear technology was introduced in the 1960s and 1970s, introduction of a new generation of nuclearmore » plants will have to begin within the next two decades. In addition to being economically competitive, robustly safe, efficiently using natural resources and responsibly managing the radioactive waste, the next generation of nuclear energy systems will have to successfully allay legitimate concerns about their potential misuse in nuclear weapons material production. With large-scale deployment requiring the introduction of fuel recycling facilities as well as the reactors, the technological underpinnings of an acceptable global nonproliferation regime will become even more essential. Transparency of operations needs to provide formal international assurance of the absence of illicit activities. Providing that level of transparency is a theoretical and technological challenge, but it is made even more difficult by conflicting interests. Technology providers want to capitalize on their research and development investments by protecting patents and intellectual property. Host nations have an obligation to physically protect nuclear materials, a job made more difficult by providing detailed information about the location and state of such materials to potential adversaries such as terrorist groups. In view of these conditions, it is postulated that transparency can be more easily adopted internationally when it emphasizes openness and dissemination of information on triggered operating events within the facility rather than on detailed material inventory data. Disseminating the former information appears less sensitive than circulating the latter data. Moreover, if it is to be accepted, providing adequate transparency cannot require excessive capital investment or annual operating cost, incur significant interference to plant operations or divulge information that would compromise the security of nuclear materials. Nonproliferation analysts find it useful to describe intrinsic and extrinsic proliferation barriers, the former implying innate features of a given technology that are difficult to defeat; the latter implying features of a national and international safeguards regime. Given the financial constraints on imposing such extrinsic barriers as frequent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, developers of new-generation nuclear technology will be pushed to optimize the inherent proliferation resistance of the technology to achieve an acceptable proliferation risk level. This goal can be most effectively accomplished by including such features in the design criteria, rather than back fitting plant designs to include safeguards technologies. It is postulated that the effective deployment and commercialization of nuclear technology will depend in part on the nonproliferation and transparency measures integrated into the fuel cycle design. It will also depend on its safeguards acceptance by the IAEA and whether the particular verification mechanisms adopted are achievable and affordable. In support of more direct and feasible safeguards measures, the additional provision in the Model Protocol Additional to Safeguards Agreements with respect to facility operations reporting is an enabling element for achieving improved nuclear transparency.« less