Governments at different levels in the United States have introduced various programs to promote alternative and renewable energies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy security. Some of these policy initiatives include mandates and tax credits to encourage the production of biofuels. As governmental efforts to promote renewable fuels as alternative sources of energy have evolved from subsidization to mandate, the production of biofuels has dramatically increased. The expansion of the mandate may contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but biofuels may be technically, economically, and environmentally inefficient. This 4-page fact sheet written by Zhengfei Guan and Juhyun Oh and published by the Food and Resource Economics Department reviews and discusses current US biofuel policies and explores potential outcomes.
This 5-page fact sheet gives an overview of two methods for evaluating energy transformations in biofuels production. The Life Cycle Assessment approach involves measurements affecting greenhouse gases, which can be linked to the energy considerations used in the Emergy Assessment. Although these two methods have their basis in energy or greenhouse gas emission evaluations, their approaches can lead to a reliable judgment regarding a biofuel process. We can use them to evaluate the economic environmental component of a biofuel process, and decide which biofuel processes favor sustainability. The intended audiences of this publication are growers, researchers, students, and any other readers interested in agriculture and ecology. Written by J. Van Treese II, E. A. Hanlon, N. Y. Amponsah, J. L. Izursa, and J. C. Capece, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, March 2013.