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Energy and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Biofuels: A Framework for Analysis

UCD-ITS-RP-07-58

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In this paper, we review some of the basic energy balance and climate change impact issues associated with biofuels. For both the basic energy and greenhouse gas balances of producing and using a range of fuels, and for the increasingly debated and important issues of non-greenhouse gas impacts such as land, fertilizer, and water use, we conclude that an improved framework for the analysis and evaluation of biofuels is needed. These new methodologies and data sets are needed on both physical and socioeconomic aspects of the life-cycle of biofuels. We detail some of components that could be used to build this methodology and highlight key areas for future research. We look at the history and potential impacts of building the resource base for biofuel research, as well as at some of the land-use and socioeconomic impacts of different feedstock-to-fuel pathways.

Suggested Citation: D. M. Kammen, A. E. Farrel, R. J. Plevin, A. D. Jones, M. A. Delucchi, and G. F. Nemet, “Energy and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Biofuels: A Framework for Analysis,” in Biofuels: Linking Support to Performance, Roundtable 138, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Transport Forum, Paris, France, July, pp. 41-74 (2007).