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Because of their
compatibility with the
natural carbon cycle,
biofuels offer the most
for reducing green-
house gases from the
Projected Carbon Emissions from Light-Duty
Vehicles: Impact of Bioethanol Development
(in millions of metric tons per year)*
DOE offers alternatives
Since the late 1970s, the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) has invested in research and tech-
nology slated to global climate change. DOE's
Office of Fuels Development (OFD) manages the
National Biofuels Program and is the lead technical
advisor on the development of biofuels technolo-
gies in the United States. Together with industry
and other stakeholders, the program seeks to
establish a major biofuels industry that can provide
a significant fraction of the nation's transportation
fuels. Its goals are to develop and commercialize
technologies for producing sustainable, domestic,
environmentally beneficial, and economically viable
fuels from dedicated biomass feedstocks.
National laboratories work to support biofuels
Several national laboratories-primarily Oak
Ridge National laboratory (ORNL) and the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)-air work-
ing to expand the potential of biofuels technolo-
gies in mitigating D2. In addition to employing
world-class researchers to conduct work in house,
these laboratories work with numerous subcontrac-
tors from universities, the private sector, and other
search institutes to improve and commercialize
biofuels technologies. Through ORNI, OFD is set-
The carbon cycle and biofuels
CO2 is part of the Earth's natural carbon cycle,
which circulates carbon through the atmosphere,
plants, animals, oceans, soil, and rocks. This
cycle maintains a life-sustaining and deli-
cate natural balance between storing,
releasing, and recycling carbon.
By using biofuels such as bioethanol
and biodiesel for transportation, we
can help restore the natural balance
of CO2 in the atmosphere. Besides
displacing fossil fuels, the feedstocks
Bioethanol used to make biofuels require CO2 to
grow, and they absorb what they
need from the atmosphere. Thus, much
or all of the CO2 released when biomass is
converted into a biofuel and burned in auto-
mobile engines is recaptured when new biomass
is grown to produce more biofuels.
Q Baseline D Impact of ethanol
*Projections based on ongoing research
ting up several feedstock R&D centers to support a
greater variety of energy crops for the widespread
use of biofuels. These crops include switchgrass,
willow, and hybrid poplars.
At NREL, in-house engineers work with subcon-
tractors to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, test
alternative fuels, and find alternatives to the inter-
nal combustion engine. These strategies will help
irduce CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
Biofuels research focuses on irducing the cost of
biomass-to-biofuels conversion technology and
transferring this technology to the commercial sec-
tor. OFD has established an Alternative Fuels User
Facility at NREL, which helps industry develop
cost-competitive renewable transportation fuels
from biomass. The heart of this facility is the
Process Development Unit, which engineers and
scientists use to gather data about promising bio-
fuels technologies. It houses fermenters, distillation
columns, and centrifuges that take biomass through
the steps to become a fuel. NREL also leads pro-
jects to improve the efficiency of ethanol produc-
ing microorganisims and to lower the cost of
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Woodward, S. Biofuels: A Solution for Climate Change, book, October 4, 1999; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc620649/m1/4/: accessed July 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.