There are a variety of ways that cellulosic biomass can be converted into biofuels. AHB’s research focuses on a
conversion process that uses heat, bacteria, and chemical reactions to convert the wood from poplar trees into
biofuels and bio-based chemicals.
Drop-In biofuels are liquid transportation fuels made from plant material. These fuels are chemically identical to petroleum-derived gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Drop-in biofuels could be used in the same engines and be stored in the same fuel supply infrastructure as fossil fuels.
Ethanol and biodiesel are renewable alternatives to petroleum that can be blended into transportation fuels. Traditional gasoline and diesel engines can run on lower-level blends, and Flex Fuel Vehicles can use 85% ethanol. In the Pacific Northwest, blends with over 10% ethanol (E10) and over 5% biodiesel (B5) are offered at select stations, primarily along the I-5 corridor.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program calls for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be used in the year 2022. Renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, can reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the transportation sector.
Advanced biofuels are renewable fuels that are considered “advanced” because of the type of plant material or feedstock that is used to make them. Advanced biofuels have the potential to replace the petroleum-based fuels that we currently use.
In the PNW, poplar trees are a promising feedstock for cellulosic ethanol. Developing a cellulosic ethanol industry in the PNW can increase energy security, build local economies, and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and global warming potential.