Biomass availability for producing transportation fuels  

Active Project
Biomass availability for producing transportation fuels  

Focus Areas: 

  • Managed Resources
  • Energy Transition
  • Policy Scenarios
  • Climate Policy

Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative Future Energy Systems Center

Leaders: Sergey Paltsev, Kristala Prather (MIT Chemical Engineering)

Duration: 2 years

Abstract: Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels is one of the major ways to decarbonize transportation. Biofuels are particularly important for aviation, shipping and trucking, where the potential applications of other low-carbon technologies are limited. While demands for biofuels are large, estimates of biomass supply vary substantially due to differing sustainability considerations. We will assess the scalability of biomass availability and focus on plausibility and ranges of pathways to get simultaneously to large scales of biofuel production and land-intensive nature-based solutions, while satisfying food requirements for a growing global population. On the biofuels demand side, we will evaluate global and regional transportation demands, with a particular focus on aviation and shipping, and investigate a range of bio-based advanced low-carbon fuels suitable for satisfying transport applications to meet climate targets. To quantify the tradeoffs for biomass supply and demand, we will enhance the global multi-region, multi-sector, economy-wide MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, that considers many complex physical and socio-economic relationships and feedbacks. As large-scale deployment of biofuels will likely depend on continuing policy support, we will evaluate policies leading to sufficient growth of advanced biofuels at a regional and global level.

Funding Sources

Project Leaders

Administration, Faculty
MIT Energy Initiative; Joint Program