Spatio-Temporally Explicit Life Cycle Carbon Accounting for U.S. Wood-Based Transport Fuels

EPA Grant Number: FP917453
Title: Spatio-Temporally Explicit Life Cycle Carbon Accounting for U.S. Wood-Based Transport Fuels
Investigators: Earles, Jeffrey M
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Ecology


This research aims to quantify potential climate forcing of transport fuels produced using wood removed from U.S. forests. The hypothesis is that potential climate forcing varies dramatically in the United States— depending on tree-, stand-, management- and disturbance-specific parameters. Under different time horizons, such variability could lead to an array of potential climate benefits and detriments associated with using wood for transport fuel production.


To accomplish these objectives, this research will: (1) spatio-temporally model forest growth, mortality, disturbances and harvest for transport fuels from more than 30,000 forested plots in the United States; (2) characterize life-cycle carbon exchanges between relevant biogeochemical and industrial stocks; and (3) evaluate wood-based fuels compared to other transport fuel options.

Expected Results:

It is expected to obtain several useful outcomes from the proposed research: (1) spatio-temporally resolved climate forcing factors that can be applied to wood-based bioenergy pathways; (2) a wood-based transport fuel extension for Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation model; (3) a set of maps displaying the net climate forcing impacts for the woodbased transport fuel system across the United States; and (4) policy recommendations regarding the locations and conditions in which woodbased fuels have the greatest radiative forcing reduction potential relative to other transportation fuel options.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

Today, society is challenged by a dependence on carbon-intensive fossil-based transport fuels and changing climate patterns with unknown future impacts on environmental and human health. Presently, woodbased transport fuels are expected to help meet aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets. It is not clear, however, that this will be the case in the desired timeframe. This work will help to more precisely define when and where wood-based transport fuels may provide the greatest radiative forcing reduction potential.

Supplemental Keywords:

climate change, energy, forest

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2013
  • 2014
  • Final