skip to main content

Title: Simulated impact of the renewable fuels standard on US Conservation Reserve Program enrollment and conversion

We used a socioeconomic model to estimate the land-use implications on the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program from potential increases in second-generation biofuel production. A baseline scenario with no second-generation biofuel production is compared to a scenario where the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) volumes are met by 2022. We allow for the possibility of converting expiring CRP lands to alternative uses such as conventional crops, dedicated second-generation biofuel crops, or harvesting existing CRP grasses for biomass. Our results indicate that RFS2 volumes (RFS2-v) can be met primarily with crop residues (78% of feedstock demand) and woody residues (19% of feedstock demand) compared with dedicated biomass (3% of feedstock demand), with only minimal conversion of cropland (0.27 million hectares, <1% of total cropland), pastureland (0.28 million hectares of pastureland, <1% of total pastureland), and CRP lands (0.29 million hectares of CRP lands, 3% of existing CRP lands) to biomass production. Meeting RFS2 volumes would reduce CRP re-enrollment by 0.19 million hectares, or 4%, below the baseline scenario where RFS2 is not met. Yet under RFS2-v scenario, expiring CRP lands are more likely to be converted to or maintain perennial cover, with 1.78 million hectares of CRP lands converting to hay production, andmore » 0.29 million hectares being harvested for existing grasses. A small amount of CRP is harvested for existing biomass, but no conversion of CRP to dedicated biomass crops, such as switchgrass, are projected to occur. Although less land is enrolled in CRP under RFS2-v scenario, total land in perennial cover increases by 0.15 million hectares, or 2%, under RFS2-v. Sensitivity to yield, payment and residue retention assumptions are evaluated.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; EP-13-H-000183/0001
Published Article
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; Conservation Reserve Program; Energy Independence and Security Act; land-use change; Renewable Fuel Standard; second-generation biofuels; UNITED-STATES; SWITCHGRASS; GRASSLAND; BIOFUELS; BIOMASS; ENERGY