Policy Maker Briefs
Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) is a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded research project that is investigating the development of a regional biofuel and bio-based chemical industry from locally grown hybrid poplar trees.
Poplar trees are useful in a variety of environmental applications in addition to being a promising bioenergy crop. Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest is leading research to develop a renewable fuel and bio-chemical industry in the Pacific Northwest where poplar trees will be the primary feedstock.
Researchers at AHB are investigating the economic feasibility of four, 100 million gallon a year bio-jet fuel refineries in the Pacific Northwest. The proposed locations were selected based on models that considered poplar yields and grower adoption estimates, existing infrastructure, and logistical costs.
The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of a product incorporates all greenhouse gas emissions in the fuel’s production pathway to the equivalent emission of carbon dioxide (CO2). In doing so, the climate change impacts of different fuel sources can be easily compared.
As the bioenergy sector grows in the Pacific Northwest, people with skills and knowledge will be needed to drive the next generation of innovations. Programs at Oregon State University and Walla Walla Community College (through partnership with the Agriculture Center of Excellence), created as part of the Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest project, aim to meet these needs.
On the conversion pathway to renewable drop-in transportation fuels, intermediate bio-chemicals are produced with high economic value, which can reduce risk for new biorefineries. The “bridge to biofuels” shows the building blocks of drop-in biofuels and discusses the uses and opportunities of intermediate bio-chemicals.