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Sky’s the limit for biofuels

Study confirms sufficient biomass potential to reach sustainable aviation fuel goals

Man in blue button down shirt with short grey hair stands in a field smiling
ORNL’s John Field provided expertise on sustainable biomass feedstock potential for a new report focused on the role of the bioeconomy in U.S. decarbonization strategies. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The United States has enough biomass potential to produce 35 billion gallons per year of aviation biofuel by 2050, a new report confirms.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s John Field provided biomass feedstock production expertise to the report focused on the role of the bioeconomy in U.S. decarbonization strategies, which was produced by the Department of Energy’s DECARB program.

The report examined the role of biomass in reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the economy, including opportunities to reach negative emissions. It includes data from the ORNL-led 2016 Billion-Ton Report that identified potential biomass from agricultural and forestry residues, wastes and bioenergy crops. 

The latest 2023 Billion-Ton Report identifies up to 1.7 billion tons per year of potential biomass, including winter oilseed crops for jet biofuels.

Carbon-negative bioenergy is expected to be essential to a net-zero emissions economy and could account for 4% to 11% of the nation’s total energy mix by 2050, according to the DECARB report.