Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory of Large-Scale Production of Selected Biofuels Feedstocks in 2022

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10 Scopus Citations


For climate protection and energy security reasons, biofuels are proposed to replace a significant fraction of fossil transportation fuel. Recognition of differences in production pathways between biofuels and fossil fuels has motivated an emerging literature that considers air quality and human health impacts of potential changes to the magnitude, location, timing, and type of air pollutants emitted. To inform research and development of advanced biofuel production systems as well as air quality management decisions, we have developed a highly resolved inventory of air pollutant emissions for a baseline scenario of current and future US biofuel feedstock production systems using data from recent research. We find that in most US counties, production of cellulosic biofuel feedstocks using advanced practices exhibits lower air pollutant emissions than current corn grain production. An analysis of the contributing sources to each of the seven evaluated air pollutants helps identify emission reduction opportunities. Compared to the 2008 National Emissions Inventory, production of cellulosic biofuel feedstocks to meet regulatory requirements in 2022 typically represents small increments of air emissions, though for certain pollutants and counties, a threshold may be reached whereby further examination may be warranted to ensure air quality standards can be achieved. Given that the advanced biofuel supply chain system is in its infancy, considerable opportunities exist to minimize adverse impacts while maximizing the benefits of advanced biofuels. This analysis enables more informed technology development decisions and identification of mitigation opportunities in the biofuel feedstock production stage.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-63799


  • Air quality
  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass
  • Second-generation
  • Sustainability


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