6.3 Production and Delivery of Bioenergy Fuels (Ch. 27)

Biomass energy, or bioenergy, is expected to play a prominent part in achieving a deeply decarbonized energy system, according to the analysis in the DDPP reports. While decarbonization will focus largely on the use of electricity where possible—electricity becomes a much larger share of final energy under the decarbonization strategies—there are “high-value end uses” that are less amenable to electrification, such as freight transport and industry. For these nonelectric end uses, biomass is envisioned to become a major fuel source. The reports recommend shifting current biofuels policy from production of corn-based ethanol and gasoline substitutes and redirecting biomass resources toward these high-value end uses. This scaled-up role for bioenergy correspondingly stimulates the pursuit of decarbonization opportunities throughout the biofuels supply chain. The chapter focuses on opportunities for decarbonization in the “middle” elements of the biofuels supply chain— the production of bioenergy, and the transportation logistics before and after the production process. Achieving the necessary level of decarbonization in the production and delivery of biofuels will require a variety of legal strategies, including reformation of the RFS, widespread adoption of low-carbon fuel standards by states and regions, and measures to promote carbon intensity reductions in the production of biofuels, such as increased use of combined heat and power to reduce dependence upon grid electricity (until such time as the electrical grid is substantially decarbonized), and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) at biorefineries.