Hydrocarbon Bio‐Jet Fuel from Bioconversion of Poplar Biomass: Life Cycle Assessment of Site‐Specific Impacts

Erik Budsberg, Nathan Parker, Varaprasad Bandaru, Renata Bura, Rick Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hydrocarbon drop‐in bio‐jet fuels could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the aviation sector. Large tracts of land will be required to grow biomass feedstock for this biofuel, and changes to the management of these lands could have substantial environmental impacts. This research uses spatial analysis and life cycle assessment methodologies to investigate potential environmental impacts associated with converting land to grow poplar trees for conversion to bio‐jet fuel from different regions within the western United States. Results vary by region and are depend-ent on land availability, type of land converted, prior land management practices, and poplar growth yields. The conversion of intensively managed cropland to poplar production results in a decrease in fertilizer and a lower annual global warming potential (GWP) (Clarksburg CA region). Bringing unmanaged rangeland into production results in increases in fertilizers, chemical inputs, fuel use, and GWP (Jefferson OR region). Where poplar yields are predicted to be lower, more land is converted to growing poplar to meet feedstock demands (Hayden ID). An increased use of land leads to greater fuel use and GWP. Changes to land use and management practices will drive changes at the local level that need to be understood before developing a drop‐in biofuels industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number549
JournalForests
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • biofuels
  • drop‐in biofuels
  • hydrocarbon biofuels
  • life cycle assessment
  • poplar biomass
  • regional environmental impacts
  • spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

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