An Investigation of the Complex Interrelated Issues Associated with Generating Automotive Fuels From Lignocellulosic Biomass


Sustainable Futures Institute
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931

Phone: 906.487.3612
Fax: 906.487.2943
e-mail: sfi@mtu.edu

Picture of forestland owned by one of the interviewees who participated in the project. Photo: Karl Makinen and Andrew Kozich

"Renewable Energy From Forest Resources in the United States," was published by Dr. Barry Solomon.










Social Science:
Studying the Social Impacts
Kathleen Halvorsen, PhD; Natural Resource Policy
Joint Appointment to the Faculties of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and Social Science

Barry Solomon, PhD; Department of Social Sciences;
Director - Graduate Program in Environmental Policy

Bioenergy development can help us to solve many environmental problems, from climate change to heightened wildland fire risk.  Public policies at state and federal levels aim to encourage bioenergy development.  Our analysis focuses on understanding how those policies intersect with obstacles to and opportunities for bioenergy development, including biomass utilization and cellulosic ethanol production.  In turn, these policies rest on public understandings of the problems: their causes and their solutions.  

This project has determined that few residents of the upper Midwest understand the causes and solutions related to climate change.  However, those who do are more likely to support cellulosic ethanol development.  Additionally, since woody bioenergy development will draw disproportionately from the lands of non-industrial private forest landowners, it is important to understand their values, beliefs, and practices related to forest management and participation in bioenergy markets.  Research funded under this and related grants included large scale mail surveys of upper Midwest residents and interviews with Michigan forest landowners.

Renewable Energy from Forest Resources in the United States
Co-Authored by Barry Solomon and
Valerie A. Luzadis

Interest in biomass energy resources from forests, farms and other sources has been rapidly increasing in recent years because of growing concern with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and developing alternatives to increasingly scarce, expensive and insecure oil supplies.

The uniqueness of this book is its coverage of biomass energy markets in the US from an economic as well as technical perspective. Existing books typically focus on single markets or technical aspects at the exclusion of economics, and have given greater coverage to biomass energy outside the US. This edited collection has three main parts. Part One provides a historical overview of forest biomass energy use in the US; the major technologies, economics, market prospects, and policies. Part Two presents forest biomass energy assessments, including life cycle and sustainability perspectives, and Part Three includes five sets of regional case studies. After reviewing the history of wood energy use in the US and technology options, the book shows that forests could displace sixteen per cent of domestic transportation fuel use in 2030.

Renewable Energy from Forest Resources in the United States includes a foreword from Chris Flavin, President of the Worldwatch Institute.


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