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Development of Methodologies for Determining Preferred Landscape Designs for Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstock Production Systems at a Watershed Scale

Open Date: 06/02/2010

Close Date: 07/16/2010

Funding Organization: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Funding Number: DE-FOA-0000314


Dramatic expansion of the domestic biofuels industry is needed to meet the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2; i.e., 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels from domestically produced feedstocks by 2022, including 21 billion gallons per year of advanced biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks). In order to displace 30% or more of the country's present petroleum consumption, approximately one billion dry tons of sustainably produced feedstocks would need to be produced each year. It is anticipated that the feedstock required to achieve the anticipated rapid expansion of the commercial domestic biofuels industry will come predominantly from dedicated energy crops.

The lack of verifiable and reliable environmental data at the watershed scale for high-yielding energy crops and other feedstocks removed from the landscape to ascertain the sustainability of these production systems has been identified as a barrier to the development of a large and significant biofuel and biopower industry. Furthermore, there exists only limited information and few tools for implementing and managing sustainable high-yield energy crops across the landscape. There is little scientific information and no validated methodology for optimizing sustainable cellulosic biomass production systems beyond the plot and field scale onto the watershed and larger scale.

With the expected rapid growth of the bio-economy, the escalation of establishment and production of energy crops across the agricultural, forestry, and rural landscape will need to be correspondingly rapid and must happen in parallel with the development of biorefineries. Special attention is therefore required to understand sustainability issues at the watershed level and to use this information for developing a model or a set of tools to help implement large-scale deployment of energy crops that ensure environmental sustainability, while optimizing system productivity and economic viability for producers, and provide high quality biomass for a variety of conversion processes.

For more information, see the full solicitation.

Last updated: 06/07/2010

Funding amounts and schedules are subject to change.