Measuring Biofuel Environmental Impacts
To ensure production of renewable biofuels from poplar feedstock remains environmentally friendly, we are researching the impact on the carbon cycle, soil, water, and wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and insects.
Life Cycle Assessment is being used to measure cradle-to-grave global warming potential, fossil fuel usage, and potentially important environmental impacts such as water usage, acidification, and eutrophication associated with biofuel production and use. Preliminary results suggest that poplar-derived biofuels have environmental benefits, such as minimal life cycle carbon emissions.
The four hybrid poplar demonstration plantations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California are being used to assess before and after impacts on soil, water quality, and wildlife. The results of these assessments will define the impacts and suggest areas where performance might be improved.