Sustainable Biofuels

Bioenergy is included in many proposed strategies to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and limit the magnitude of global warming. Liquid biofuel production typically requires large areas of land for the production of feedstocks, resulting in a range of tradeoffs for the climate, local economies, and the environment. As part of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, we study current land use and land availability for next generation biofuels and bioproducts to understand the production potential and environmental outcomes of bioenergy production and how it could contribute to climate and conservation goals.

Lark TJ, NP Hendricks, N Pates, A Smith, SA Spawn, MF Bougie, EG Booth, CJ Kucharik, HK Gibbs. 2022. Environmental outcomes of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. [Link]
Spawn-Lee SA, TJ Lark, H Gibbs, RA Houghton, CJ Kucharik, C Malins, REO Pelton, GP Robertson. 2021. Comment on ‘Carbon intensity of corn ethanol in the United States: state of the science’. Environmental Research Letters. [Link]
Khanna M, et al. (12 authors including TJ Lark and SA Spawn). 2021. Redefining marginal land for bioenergy crop production. Global Change Biology-Bioenergy. [Link]
Wright, C., B. Larson, T. Lark, and H. K. Gibbs. 2017. “Recent grassland losses are concentrated around U.S. ethanol refineries.” Environmental Research Letters 12 (4). [Abstract] [Link]
Lark, T. J., J. M. Salmon, and H. K. Gibbs. 2015. “Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States.” Environmental Research Letters 10(4): 044003. [Abstract] [Link]
Gibbs, H. K., M. Johnston, J. A. Foley, T. Holloway. C. Monfreda, N. Ramankutty, and D. Zaks. 2008. “Carbon payback times for crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: the effects of changing yield and technology.” Environmental Research Letters 3(3): 034001 [Abstract] [Link]
Plevin, R., M. O’Hare, A. D. Jones, M. S. Torn, and H. K. Gibbs. 2010. “Greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels’ indirect land use change are uncertain but may be much greater than previously estimated.” Environmental Science and Technology 44(21): 8015-8021 [Abstract] [Link]
Robertson, G. P., V. H. Dale, O. C. Doering, S. P. Hamburg, J. M. Melillo, M. M. Wander, W. J. Parton, R. Pouyat, P. R. Adler, J. Barney, R. M. Cruse, C. S. Duke, P. M. Fearnside, R. F. Follett, H. K. Gibbs, J. Goldemberg, D. J. Mladenhoff, D. Ojima, M. W. Palmer, A. Sharpley, L. Wallace, K. C. Weathers, J. A. Wiens, and W. W. Wilhelm. 2008. “Sustainable Biofuels Redux.” Science 322(5898): 49-50 [Abstract] [Link]