development of the U.S. biofuels industry. For illustrative purposes, the committee estimated the quantities that could, for example, be available within a 40-mile radius (about a 50-mile driving distance) of fuels-conversion plants across the United States (Figure 5.1). With the exception of transport of woody material (primarily pulpwood), 40–50 miles has historically been the maximum distance considered economically feasible for biomass transport. An estimated 290 sites could supply from 1,500 up to 10,000 dry tons per day (from 0.5 million to 3.7 million dry tons per year) of biomass to conversion plants within a 40-mile radius. Notably, the wide geographic variation in potential biomass availability for processing plants affects their sizes. This variation suggests the potential to optimize each individual conversion plant to decrease costs and maximize environmental benefits and supply within a given region. Increasing the distance of delivery could result in larger conversion plants with lower fuel costs.
To help realize the committee’s projected sustainable biomass supply, incentives could be provided to farmers and developers for using a systems approach to address biofuel production; soil, water, and air quality; carbon sequestration; wild2