Summary of Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading GHG Analyses

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The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established new renewable fuel categories and eligibility requirements (EPA 2010). A significant aspect of the National Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2) program is the requirement that the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a qualifying renewable fuel be less than the life cycle GHG emissions of the 2005 baseline average gasoline or diesel fuel that it replaces. Four levels of reduction are required for the four renewable fuel standards. Table 1 lists these life cycle performance improvement thresholds. Table 1. Life Cycle GHG Thresholds Specified in EISA Fuel Type Percent ... continued below

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Snowden-Swan, Lesley J. & Male, Jonathan L. December 7, 2012.

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The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established new renewable fuel categories and eligibility requirements (EPA 2010). A significant aspect of the National Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2) program is the requirement that the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a qualifying renewable fuel be less than the life cycle GHG emissions of the 2005 baseline average gasoline or diesel fuel that it replaces. Four levels of reduction are required for the four renewable fuel standards. Table 1 lists these life cycle performance improvement thresholds. Table 1. Life Cycle GHG Thresholds Specified in EISA Fuel Type Percent Reduction from 2005 Baseline Renewable fuel 20% Advanced biofuel 50% Biomass-based diesel 50% Cellulosic biofuel 60% Notably, there is a specialized subset of advanced biofuels that are the cellulosic biofuels. The cellulosic biofuels are incentivized by the Cellulosic Biofuel Producer Tax Credit (26 USC 40) to stimulate market adoption of these fuels. EISA defines a cellulosic biofuel as follows (42 USC 7545(o)(1)(E)): The term “cellulosic biofuel” means renewable fuel derived from any cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin that is derived from renewable biomass and that has lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, as determined by the Administrator, that are at least 60 percent less than the baseline lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. As indicated, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sole responsibility for conducting the life cycle analysis (LCA) and making the final determination of whether a given fuel qualifies under these biofuel definitions. However, there appears to be a need within the LCA community to discuss and eventually reach consensus on discerning a 50–59 % GHG reduction from a ≥ 60% GHG reduction for policy, market, and technology development. The level of specificity and agreement will require additional development of capabilities and time for the sustainability and analysis community, as illustrated by the rich dialogue and convergence around the energy content and GHG reduction of cellulosic ethanol (an example of these discussions can be found in Wang 2011). GHG analyses of fast pyrolysis technology routes are being developed and will require significant work to reach the levels of development and maturity of cellulosic ethanol models. This summary provides some of the first fast pyrolysis analyses and clarifies some of the reasons for differing results in an effort to begin the convergence on assumptions, discussion of quality of models, and harmonization.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-22175
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1072913 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1072913
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc832895

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  • December 7, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 11:19 p.m.

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Snowden-Swan, Lesley J. & Male, Jonathan L. Summary of Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading GHG Analyses, report, December 7, 2012; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc832895/: accessed July 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.