Shrub Willow

Authored by: Smart Lawrence B. , Cameron Kimberly D.

Handbook of Bioenergy Crop Plants

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439816844
eBook ISBN: 9781315099255
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b11711-32

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Abstract

On a global scale, issues surrounding diminishing fossil fuel supply, increasing demand for energy, and strategic policies for national security, all in the context of rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and increasing evidence of climate change, will contribute to rapid growth in the use of renewable biomass as a source of energy, especially in the United States and Europe. Biomass produced and aggregated in the agricultural and forestry industries can be used in three primary energy sectors: to generate electricity, transportation fuels, or heat. Across multiple scales (state, regional, national, and international), agreed-upon caps or legislated restrictions on carbon emissions are driving up the cost of producing electricity from fossil fuels, especially coal, and are inspiring a shift to the use of biomass to fuel the boilers in power plants. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Biomass Research and Development Board have highlighted the unsustainable rise in demand for foreign petroleum in the United States and have provided leadership in proposing a National Biofuels Action Plan (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/nbap.pdf) to meet a national goal of replacing 15% of gasoline usage with biofuels and to increase biofuel production in the United States to 35 billion gallons per year by 2017. To meet these goals in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner, there will need to be dramatic increases in the total production of biofuel feedstocks. There is great potential for the production, aggregation, and use of plant biomass other than corn grain as a feedstock for the production of biofuels in the United States. The growth of perennial woody crops as a feedstock crop for biofuels and bioproducts offers significant advantages with respect to net energy ratio, soil conservation, nutrient management, biodiversity, and utilization of marginal agricultural land, in addition to diversifying the feedstock commodities available to the biofuels industry (Verwijst 2001; Volk et al. 2004b, 2006).

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