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Title:Water requirement for biorefinery to meet the renewable fuel standard in the contiguous United States
Author(s):Piao, Ximin
Advisor(s):Cai, Ximing
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
renewable fuel standard
water use
cellulosic biofuel
Abstract:Renewable biofuel production requires a considerable amount of water for biofuel conversion. However, it is still unclear how much water is needed in the Contiguous United States (CONUS) to convert feedstocks to biofuels and the associated impacts on local water availabilities. This study addresses this issue with the most up-to-date data of feedstock, water availability, and water requirements for biorefinery technologies. The multi-faceted nature of biofuel development, including feedstock production, water availability, transportation cost, biorefinery capacity, and biorefinery benefits and costs, is addressed through the delineation of a basic analysis unit: biorefinery planning boundary (RPB). The result suggests the total biorefinery water use in 2030 accounts for less than 0.01% of the total water availability in the CONUS. However, local water issues are found, especially in the Great Plains RPBs where biorefinery would consume up to 100% of the local water availabilities. This high level of water consumption shows possible pressures on local water use, water infrastructure, and water price. If a constraint on water consumption is imposed for biorefineries, up to 1.2 billion Gallon/year cellulosic biofuel production (7.5% of the renewable fuel standard mandated amount) will be affected. The total affected cellulosic biofuel production correlates strongly with the water use constraint when the biomass price is higher than $50/dry ton (dt), but such correlation diminishes as the biomass price becomes lower. Findings from this study will be beneficial for the sustainable planning of biofuel production.
Issue Date:2021-07-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Ximin Piao
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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