SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
The Facts About Biofuels
Biofuels are created from agricultural and forest material to power vehicles. Agricultural waste and residues, forestry residues, oil crops, animal fats, and waste oil can be converted to liquid or gaseous fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol, and methanol.
In the Southeast, the potential for producing biofuels is significant due to our abundant forestry and agricultural resources. A report released by the Oak Ridge National Lab outlined a national biofuel plan that could supply one third of the U.S. demand for transportation fuels by the year 2030. The report also states that biofuels have surpassed hydropower as the largest domestic source of renewable energy, providing more than 3 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States. View the report.
One of the key reasons for biofuels production and use is the potential reduction in greenhouse gases (GHGs) provided by these fuels over fossil fuels. However, the climate benefit (or not) of biofuels is dependent on many factors and varies depending on the feedstock source. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) of the use of all feedstocks for biofuels should be conducted to more clearly understand the benefits of biofuels.
What is SACE Doing?
- Tracking development of new and expanded biofuels production facilities, to assess the impact on the available biomass resource base
- Tracking growth and development of the industry, feedstock challenges, and sustainability issues
- Organizing discussions of issues surrounding sustainability and feedstock challenges
- Organizing dialogues among stakeholders to define the issues, seek consensus around appropriate responses
- Promoting sustainability principles for biomass use and further research and development, including life cycle analyses, for a range of feed stocks