A Small Fraction of the USA Biomass Resource Would Meet 100% of National Transportation Fuel Needs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010: 8:30 AM
251 E Room (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Percival Zhang and Weidong Huang, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Lignocellulosic biomass is a low-cost renewable chemical energy resource that would produce a large amount of transportation biofuels. We propose to calculate the energy conversion efficiency from biomass-to-kinetic energy (BTK) for driving so that we can avoid debates about the input uncertainties of life cycle analyses. Three different biomass-utilizing scenarios were compared: liquid cellulosic ethanol and the internal combustion engine; hydrogen, PEM fuel cells, and the electric motor; and electricity, battery, and the electric motor. The future sugar-hydrogen-electricity power train system called “sugar fuel cell vehicle (SFCV)” would not only have higher or similar BTK efficiencies than the electric vehicle but also have high energy storage densities plus benefits in operations, safety, infrastructure costs, environmental impacts, and so on. When SFCVs are widely implemented in 2030-2050, our analysis suggest that ~ 5% of the annual USA net biomass production or ~50% of the collected biomass would be sufficient to meet 100% of the national light-duty transportation fuel needs. Furthermore, we estimated that less than 1% of the global biomass resource would be sufficient to completely replace the gasoline consumption by using SFCV in 2050.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Energy Efficiency, Challenges and Solutions
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum