The Energy Opportunity
The critical need to develop and implement sustainable energy technologies creates both a challenge and an opportunity. Bioenergy has the potential to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and national security.
Realizing the potential of bioenergy requires fundamental scientific breakthroughs that permit renewable energy production using sustainable practices to produce a combination of food, fiber and fuel. Cellulosic biofuels could substantially reduce oil consumption, help cut overall carbon dioxide emissions and usher in a new green economy. The United States has more than a billion tons of cellulosic biomass that are potentially available as feedstock for biofuels production.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 is a critical driver for the sustainable development of renewable biofuels. As part of EISA, the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels are to be produced by 2022, of which 16 billion gallons are expected to come from cellulosic feedstocks.
At the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, we develop the basic science that will form the foundation of new biofuels technologies using a “field to pump approach” that evaluates energy efficiency, sustainability, and economic viability. With this approach, and with extensive collaboration across our four research areas, the GLBRC is working to turn today's energy challenges into energy opportunities for the future.