Biofuel and bioenergy systems are integral to scenarios for displacing fossil fuel use and producing negative emissions through carbon capture and storage. But the net greenhouse gas mitigation benefit of these systems has been controversial, due to concerns around carbon losses from changes in land use and foregone sequestration benefits from alternative land uses.
A new study led by Colorado State University – including an interdisciplinary team of plant scientists, ecologists and engineers – predicted significant climate benefits stemming from the use of advanced biofuel technologies. Accounting for all of the carbon flows in biofuel systems and comparing them to those in grasslands and forests, the team found that there are clear strategies for biofuels to have a net carbon benefit. This is one of the first studies to look at both current and future carbon-negative biofuels.
This research was funded in part by NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program, the U.S. Department of Energy via the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and the São Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil. For more information, read the Colorado State University article.