EXPANDING BIOFUEL PRODUCTION AND THE TRANSITION TO ADVANCED BIOFUELS
LESSONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY FROM THE UPPER MIDWEST
SUMMARY OF A WORKSHOP
Patricia Koshel and Kathleen McAllister Rapporteurs
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by funding from the Energy Foundation and the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
STEERING COMMITTEE ON EXPANDING BIOFUEL PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABILITY AND THE TRANSITION TO ADVANCED BIOFUELS
Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA)
John Carberry (Committee Chair), Former Director,
Environmental Technology, DuPont
Peter Ciborowski, Research Scientist,
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Elisabeth Graffy, Economist,
U.S. Geological Survey, Office of the Associate Director for Geography
Nathanael Greene, Senior Policy Analyst,
Natural Resources Defense Council
Jason Hill, Research Associate,
University of Minnesota
Tracey Holloway, Director,
Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Marcia Patton-Mallory, Bioenergy and Climate Change Specialist,
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Gary Radloff, Director of Policy and Strategic Communications,
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
Preface and Acknowledgments
To follow up on discussions held by the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program appointed a steering committee of subject matter experts to plan a workshop that would explore further the implications for sustainability of expanding biofuel production. Initial discussions suggested that many local and regional impacts associated with expanding biofuels exist in the U.S. Upper Midwest, so the workshop focused specifically on this region.
In June 2009 the steering committee convened the workshop with the specific purpose of developing a better understanding of the lessons that can be learned from the experience with producing corn-based ethanol and the likely environmental, economic, social, and energy security impacts of advanced biofuels. The workshop offered an opportunity for dialogue between researchers and policy makers on the sustainability impacts of expanding biofuel production at state and regional levels. The workshop also sought to identify policy objectives and challenges facing state officials related to biofuels, provide examples of research that may be useful to state decision-makers, and evaluate various tools and indicators of possible use to state policy makers in assessing the likely sustainability impacts and tradeoffs of their choices.
This document has been prepared by the workshop rapporteurs as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The statements made in this volume are those of the rapporteurs and do not necessarily represent positions of the workshop participants as a whole, the steering committee, the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, or the National Academies.
This workshop summary is the result of substantial effort and collaboration among several organizations and individuals. We wish to extend a sincere thanks
to each member of the steering committee for his/her contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project.
The project would not have been possible without the financial support of its external sponsor, the Energy Foundation. It also benefitted from internal support provided by the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Richard Cruse, Iowa State University; Gregory Nemet, University of Wisconsin; Gary Radloff, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture; and Lisa Shames, U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author(s) and the institution.
Patricia Koshel and Kathleen McAllister