U.S. Billion-ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry

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2011-08-01
Authors
Perlack, Robert
Eaton, Laurence
Turhollow, Anthony
Langholtz, Matt
Brandt, Craig
Downing, Mark
Graham, Robin
Wright, Lynn
Kavkewitz, Jacob
Shamey, Anna
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Karlen, Douglas
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

History
In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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1905–present

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Abstract

The Report, Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply (generally referred to as the Billion-Ton Study or 2005 BTS), was an estimate of “potential” biomass within the contiguous United States based on numerous assumptions about current and future inventory and production capacity, availability, and technology. In the 2005 BTS, a strategic analysis was undertaken to determine if U.S. agriculture and forest resources have the capability to potentially produce at least one billion dry tons of biomass annually, in a sustainable manner—enough to displace approximately 30% of the country’s present petroleum consumption. To ensure reasonable confidence in the study results, an effort was made to use relatively conservative assumptions. However, for both agriculture and forestry, the resource potential was not restricted by price. That is, all identified biomass was potentially available, even though some potential feedstock would more than likely be too expensive to actually be economically available.

In addition to updating the 2005 study, this report attempts to address a number of its shortcomings

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