Full Title: #Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities
Author(s): U.S. Department of Energy
Publication Date: January 1, 2017
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Historically, the concept of “waste-to-energy” has referred to any of a number of highly mature technologies (e.g. incineration or anaerobic digestion) that decrease waste volumes. Landfill capacity scarcity, coupled with increasingly stringent disposal regulations, is necessitating novel waste management solutions. In particular, the notion that waste streams represent valuable feedstocks for the production of biofuels and bioproducts is gaining currency. These feedstocks include inedible fats and greases, biogas from landfills, dairies, wastewater treatment plants, and the organic fraction of municipal solid wastes. Conversion of these feedstocks into renewable natural gas, diesel, and aviation fuels is just beginning to gain market traction. It represents a significant opportunity for additional expansion.
Terrestrial feedstocks are currently the largest resource generated for the bioeconomy, estimated at 572 million dry tons for 2017 (Billion Ton 2016), and have traditionally constituted the primary focus of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). However, the resource assessment conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab indicates that wet waste feedstocks (Summarized in Table ES-1) could also make significant contributions to the bioeconomy and domestic energy security goals.