Analysis of Biofuels Options


Lew Fulton 

Other Researchers

Julie Witcover 


There exists significant uncertainty related to biofuels parameters for various pathways, in particular cost and net GHG emissions impacts. This is especially true looking forward, beyond 2020. We would focus on advanced biofuels pathways and their potential production volume, cost, and carbon intensity out to at least 2030.  We will use the recent literature to evaluate and better understand how these fuels would affect transportation at medium and large volume production, considering near term and longer term (n-th plant) characteristics. In 2018 we conducted an analysis where we reviewed the near/medium term estimated costs of a range of biofuels, and we would expand this analysis looking both at LCA aspects and volume production potential, also possibly adding additional fuels (e.g. DME, ethanol, ammonia, biogas).  

Our analysis will not include modeling but will provide the parameters and background/justification for these parameters, that are fed into our transition model and other relevant modeling work.  It will in particular help strengthen our CA transition analysis and our 2019 US transition study. The results of this analysis will also be included in a stand-alone report.  

Specific Questions This Project Will Answer 

  • What volumes of low-carbon biofuels might be needed, and by when?  

  • What if anything do we know about likely sourcing of production (in California?  In US?), and in what timeframes? 

  • What are the key feedstock issues associated with these volumes, and what are likely proportions from waste streams vs. other sources, including dedicated crops?