Biomass NREL Leads the Way

to Source Benefits Maturity

The Wide • Produces a high-octane World of / Corn, , fuel for blends Commercially proven and • Made from a widely avail- fuel technology Biofuels able renewable

• Reduces emissions Vegetable oils, Commercially proven • Increases fats, and greases fuel technology lubricity Most Mature Oils and fats, • Offer a superior Commercial trials Green Diesel blended with feedstock for refineries under way in Europe and Gasoline crude oil • Are low- and for fuel

• Produces a high-octane Grasses, DOE program is fuel for gasoline blends Cellulosic chips, and focused on commercial • Is the only viable scenario Ethanol agricultural demonstration to replace 30% of U.S. residues by 2012 use

• Offers a low-, Corn, sorghum, BP and DuPont plan high -density, , and to introduce butanol -tolerant sugarcane fuel in 2007 alternate fuel

Any • Offer refinery feedstocks, Several commercial lignocellulosic fuel oils, and a future source facilities produce energy Liquids of aromatics or phenols and chemicals

• Can integrate biomass Demonstrated on a Various biomass sources with fuel large scale with fossil as well as fossil sources feedstocks, commercial Liquids fuel sources • Produce high-quality biomass projects under diesel or gasoline consideration

• Offer a high yield per Diesel/Jet acre and an aquaculture grown in Demonstrated at Fuel From source of biofuels aquaculture pilot scale in 1990s • Could be employed for systems CO2 capture and reuse Least Mature • Could generate synthetic Laboratory-scale Biomass gasoline, diesel fuel, and research in academic From Biomass other petroleum products laboratories Biomass run the NREL researchers also explore and develop thermochemical gamut from corn kernels to processes for converting fuels. One such corn stalks, from and process is pyrolysis, which decomposes biomass by heating it How Biofuels canola oils to animal fats, from in the absence of air. This produces an oil-like liquid that can grasses to hardwoods, be burned like fuel oil or refined into chemicals and fuels, Are Produced and even include algae. such as “green gasoline.” Thermochemical processes can also be used to pretreat biomass for conversion to biofuels. In the long run, we will need diverse technologies to make use Another thermochemical process employed at NREL is gas- of these different energy sourc- ification. In this process, and a limited amount of es. Some technologies are already developed; others will be. are used to convert biomass into a hot synthesis gas. This Today, the most common technologies involve biochemical, “syngas” can be combusted and used to produce in chemical, and thermochemical conversion processes. a gas turbine or converted to hydrocarbons, , , or chemical products. In this process, biomass gasifiers can Ethanol, today’s largest , is produced through side by side with gasifiers for greater flex- a biochemical conversion process. In this process, ibility and lower net gas emissions. ferment sugar from and sugar into ethanol. Most of today’s ethanol is produced from cornstarch or sugarcane. In the future, biomass-derived components such as carbohy- But biochemical conversion techniques can also make use of drates, , and triglycerides might also be converted to more abundant “cellulosic” biomass sources such as grasses, fuels. Such fuels can be used in heavy-duty ve- , and agricultural residues. hicles, jet , and other applications that need fuels with higher energy densities than those of ethanol or biodiesel. NREL’s researchers develop processes that use heat, , chemicals, and to unlock the in cellulosic biomass. The sugars are then fermented to ethanol, typically by using genetically engineered micro- Energy Required to Produce Fuels . Because is the leading candidate for replacing a large portion of U.S. petroleum use, it is Total Btu Spent for 1 Btu Available at Fuel Pump the focus of DOE’s Biomass Program. 3 From Biomass A much simpler chemical process is Fuel-to-Petroleum From & Ratio = 10 used to produce biodiesel. Today’s 2.5 biodiesel facilities start with vegetable From Petroleum Fuel-to-Petroleum 45% E ciency oils, seed oils, or animal fats and react Ratio = 10 them with or ethanol in the 2 57% E ciency presence of a catalyst. In addition, Fuel-to-Petroleum NREL’s genetic work has Ratio = 0.9 1.5 produced algae with a high lipid content 81% E ciency that can be used as another source Energy of biodiesel. 1 in the

Btu Required per Btu of Fuel Btu Required Fuel Algae are a form of biomass which could substantially increase our nation’s 0.5 ability to produce domestic biofuels. Algae and can serve as a natu- ral source of oil, which conventional 0 petroleum refineries can convert into jet Gasoline Cellulosic or diesel fuel—a product known as Based on “Well to Wheels Analysis of Advanced Fuel/Vehicle Systems” by Wang et al. (2005) “green diesel.” The 1.3-Billion-Ton Biomass Scenario The now consumes about 7 billion 7 2003 U.S. Petroleum barrels of oil each year, and Consumption The U.S. we produce more than 100 6 Potential for million barrels of ethanol each year from corn grain. Biofuels 5 But corn is only a small Current fraction of the biomass U.S. oil 4 1.3 billion tons of biomass - resource available. If we heating value equivalent imports draw on a variety of bio- resources, biofuels can meet a significant portion 3 of our need for liquid transportation fuels. 2 Thermochemically

Billion Barrels of OilBillion Barrels Equivalents convert biochem residues DOE and the U.S. Department of recently and resources Current demonstrated how 1.3 billion tons of biomass could 1 Biochemically U.S. oil convert non-edible production be produced exclusively for energy production in the carbohydrates United States each year with only modest changes in Near-term corn without 0 terrestrial practices. With today’s best available a ecting conversion technology, this quantity of biomass can replace about 30% of the petroleum our nation currently less fossil fuel overall and thus produces fewer green- consumes. As conversion processes improve and we house gas emissions. Gains in processing efficiencies draw on a wider range of biomass resources, including and economies of scale should boost the petroleum aquatic forms of biomass, we should find that the poten- replacement and benefits of cellulosic tial for biofuels is even greater. ethanol significantly.

Some people believe that more fossil energy is required The long-term vision for to produce ethanol than it provides as fuel. But in fact, NREL’s biofuels at DOE involves a recent study by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory integrating a number of and Corp. concluded that today’s corn Approach conversion technologies growers and ethanol plants consume only about 7 Brit- to Efficient, into a biomass-based ish thermal units (Btu) of fossil-fuel energy for every Affordable refinery, or “.” 10 Btu of fuel they produce. In other words, it takes less could draw energy to produce ethanol than is supplied by ethanol Biofuels on a variety of biomass fuel, so the fuel provides a net energy benefit. feedstocks and employ several conversion tech- The benefits are even greater in terms of replacing nologies to produce fuels, chemicals, and other prod- petroleum. Because most of the fossil-fuel energy is ucts. NREL’s approach is to help incorporate supplied by coal and natural gas, only about 1 Btu of these technologies into today’s agricultural, , petroleum is consumed for every 10 Btu of ethanol fuel aquaculture, and petroleum industries to help the nation produced. That means that every of ethanol fuel reap the many benefits of tomorrow’s biorefineries. produced significantly reduces our use of petroleum. NREL’s research focuses on cellulosic ethanol, but we The energy balance is even better for the production also work to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of cellulosic ethanol. Because the process residues will of a wide range of biofuels. By working with industry on be used to produce heat and for the conversion applied R&D, we aim to increase the yield of today’s pro- facility, biomass will provide 95% of the energy needed cesses, such as corn ethanol production. By leading the to make the fuel, with the remaining energy coming R&D of new biofuels technologies, we are advancing not from petroleum. Because the process is only about only cellulosic ethanol but also pyrolysis and . 45% efficient, the net result is the same as that for corn And by exploring revolutionary biofuels concepts, we are ethanol: 1 Btu of petroleum is burned for every 10 Btu opening the door for future fuels, such as the production of ethanol fuel produced. However, the process uses of hydrocarbons from carbohydrates or algae. We rely on transportation fuels to keep the laboratory for biofuels research and develop- engines humming in our and ment. Our expertise extends to a range of bio- and trains and planes. And that reliance is fuels derived from a variety of agricultural, expected to grow. Energy experts predict a forest, and other feedstocks. Our researchers Fueling 25% increase in U.S. petroleum consumption have achieved breakthroughs in the develop- and a 35% increase in worldwide petroleum ment and demonstration of biofuel processes, The Future demand by 2025. and they continue to lead the R&D commu- nity in the development of clean, inexpensive Where will all that fuel come from? We know fuels from a virtually inexhaustible source from experience that all kinds of unexpected of energy. events—from hurricanes in the Gulf Coast to turmoil in the Middle East—can disrupt oil supplies and ramp up the prices of crude oil Biofuels are sure to be an exciting and commercial fuels. As a result, there is part of our energy future. Through a pressing need for alternative, domestic our partnerships with industry, NREL sources of fuel. is helping lead the way. You can be an important part of that future by Biofuels are ready to meet that need. Biofuels joining with NREL today to enhance are one way to ensure adequate fuel supplies at a time when yields from existing oil fields and develop tomorrow’s biofuels. are declining and new fields are not yet up and running. Biofuels can do much to help fill the gap between limited fuel supplies and increasing worldwide demand—a gap that is almost sure to widen in the coming years.

Can we produce enough biofuels to fill the gap? At the National Laboratory (NREL), we think the answer is “yes.” NREL, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research facility, is the leading federal There is no better time to get involved in biofuels research. Collaborations of experts from national laboratories, research organizations, and industry are key to moving biofuels production technologies into the marketplace. Partnering NREL is ready to help you achieve your business goals. You can take advantage of NREL’s biomass research capabilities and expertise in any of these ways: With NREL • Your technical team can work collaboratively with NREL through a Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). This is the most widely used means of industrial collaboration. • You can stipulate specific research tasks at NREL through a Technology Partnership Agreement or Sponsored Research agreement. These are effective ways to take advantage of NREL’s expertise and unique research facilities, such as our one-ton-per-day production capability. • You can request simpler tasks through technical or analytical service agreements.

In addition, all of NREL’s patented biomass technologies are available for licensing, and NREL’s world-class biomass user facilities are available to industry, university, and government researchers. NREL may provide trained staff to conduct or direct the work, or activities can be performed by staff from the participating organization.

For more information about working with NREL, please contact: John Ashworth, Technical Lead for Partnerships and Contracts, (303) 384-6858 Please see the following Web sites: Contacts NREL’s R&D “Working With Us” Web page: http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/workingwithus.html NREL’s Biomass Research Web site: http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/ DOE Biomass Program Web site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/biomass/ The National Center is headquartered at NREL: National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL/BR-510-39436 1617 Cole Blvd. Golden, CO 80401 August 2006 303.275.3000 • www.nrel.gov This publication Operated for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by is subject to Midwest Research Institute • Batelle government rights

Printed with a renewable-source ink on containing at least 50% wastepaper, including 10% post consumer waste.