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Title: The impact of biotechnological advances on the future of US bioenergy

Modern biotechnology has the potential to substantially advance the feasibility, structure, and efficiency of future biofuel supply chains. Advances might be direct or indirect. A direct advance would be improving the efficiency of biochemical conversion processes and feedstock production. Direct advances in processing may involve developing improved enzymes and bacteria to convert lignocellulosic feedstocks to ethanol. Progress in feedstock production could include enhancing crop yields via genetic modification or the selection of specific natural variants and breeds. Other direct results of biotechnology might increase the production of fungible biofuels and bioproducts, which would impact the supply chain. Indirect advances might include modifications to dedicated bioenergy crops that enable them to grow on marginal lands rather than land needed for food production. This study assesses the feasibility and advantages of near-future (10-year) biotechnological developments for a US biomass-based supply chain for bioenergy production. We assume a simplified supply chain of feedstock, logistics and land use, conversion, and products and utilization. The primary focus is how likely developments in feedstock production and conversion technologies will impact bioenergy and biofuels in the USA; a secondary focus is other innovative uses of biotechnologies in the energy arenas. The assessment addresses near-term biofuels based onmore » starch, sugar, and cellulosic feedstocks and considers some longer-term options, such as oil-crop and algal technologies.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences and Environmental Sciences Divisions
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; bioenergy; biotechnology; bioconversion; biofeedstocks
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1286729; OSTI ID: 1295960