The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA): A New Vista for Green Fuels, Chemicals and Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP)

Research Sponsored By: Washington State University
Principal Investigator: Indroneil Ganguly
Project Description
This research module is part of a larger regional group research project. It will provide a definitive assessment of the technical, economic, environmental, and social impacts of using woody biomass for the production of jet fuel. Understanding the consequences of this technology is necessary if forest biomass is to be widely used for jet fuel. In addition, an LCA on greenhouse gas emissions will be necessary to qualify jet fuel made from forest based biomass under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and the EPA guidelines promulgated to meet the new requirements of the act (EPA 2009). To meet this objective we will combine biomass growth/yield models, engineering process models and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models to develop life cycle environmental profiles for specific woody biomass feedstocks matched with the proposed jet fuel processing technology. These integrated models will be used to develop LCAs for green house gases (GHG) and other environmental risk indices for comparisons between cellulosic jet fuel and fossil fuels. We will also compare energy uses of the feedstock and alternative wood product uses against their fossil intensive product substitutes. Alternative technologies, with their impacts on the value chain, will be compared for different forest treatments, harvesting and collection equipment and processing alternatives. Feedstock qualities will be matched with processing alternatives and regional feedstock scales of availability matched with efficient scale processing infrastructure. Alternative configurations and policy assumptions covering a range of scenarios will be used to project potential regional reductions in GHG emissions and energy dependence as well as rural economic impacts. The impacts of different policies and other alternatives will be characterized as sensitivity scenarios to better inform the adoption of appropriate policies, marketing, and investment strategies to reach energy independence goals with reduced GHG emissions while effectively managing cellulosic resources.