Sustainable Production and Distribution of Bioenergy for the Central USA
Global demand for energy continues to increase as the planet’s population grows past 7 billion and incomes rise, especially in developing countries. The increasing demand for energy has spurred many countries to explore alternative energy platforms. Over 50 countries throughout the world have active bioenergy programs. The U.S. has moved to the front of this activity as we have grown to become the largest producer of biofuels and as we alternate between the world’s largest importer and exporter of ethanol. In 2007, the federal government provided a blueprint for biofuel development over the next decade with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Figure 1 shows the RFS and details targets for various types of renewable fuels. Looking forward over the next decade, the government is seeking significant expansion of cellulosic biofuels. The target for cellulosic biofuels expands from 250 million gallons in 2011 to 16 billion gallons in 2022.