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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Location: Soil Management Research

Title: Advancing Biofuels: Balancing for Sustainability

Authors
item JOHNSON, JANE
item KARLEN, DOUGLAS

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 20, 2009
Publication Date: August 20, 2009
Citation: Johnson, J.M., Karlen, D.L. 2009. Advancing Biofuels: Balancing for Sustainability [abstract]. American Chemical Society. 77:122.

Technical Abstract: As with most technologies, use of biofuels has both benefits and risks, which vary by feedstock. Expected benefits include increased energy independence, reduced consumption of fossil fuels, reduced emission of greenhouse gases and invigorated rural economies. Anticipated risks include potential competition for use of feedstocks and undesirable shifts in land use. Technology is rapidly advancing to utilize a diverse array of nonfood annual and perennial feedstocks to produce ethanol via a cellulosic platform and/or utilizing pyrolysis to generate syngas and other products/co-products. These feedstocks traditionally have been returned to the soil. When harvesting feedstocks for biofuels, removal must be balanced with maintaining soil quality. Strategies for achieving sustainable harvest of cellulosic feedstocks include limiting harvest rates or frequencies, utilizing cover crops and adding perennials into the crop rotation. To be sustainable, it is imperative that the soil resource be preserved so that it continues to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel. [REAP Publication]

Last Modified: 9/10/2014