Development and status of dedicated energy crops in the United States

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Abstract

The biofuel industry is rapidly growing because of increasing energy demand and diminishing petroleum reserves on a global scale. A multitude of biomass resources have been investigated, with high-yielding, perennial feedstocks showing the greatest potential for utilization as advanced biofuels. Government policy and economic drivers have promoted the development and commercialization of biofuel feedstocks, conversion technologies, and supply chain logistics. Research and regulations have focused on the environmental consequences of biofuels, greatly promoting systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and life-cycle impacts. Numerous biofuel refineries using lignocellulosic feedstocks and biomass-based triglycerides are either in production or pre-commercial development phases. Leading candidate energy crops have been identified, yet require additional efforts to realize their full potential. Advanced biofuels, complementing conventional biofuels and other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, provide the means to substantially displace humanity's reliance on petroleum-based energy.

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