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BIOMASS AND NATURAL GAS AS CO-FEEDSTOCKS FOR PRODUCTION OF FUEL FOR FUEL-CELL VEHICLES
Borgwardt*, R H. BIOMASS AND NATURAL GAS AS CO-FEEDSTOCKS FOR PRODUCTION OF FUEL FOR FUEL-CELL VEHICLES. BIOMASS AND BIOENERGY 12(5):333-45, (1997).
The article gives results of an examination of prospects for utilizing renewable energy crops as a source of liquid fuel to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources and reduce dependence on imported petroleum. Fuel cells would provide an optimum vehicle technology for coping with environmental and economic effects of an expanding vehicle fleet and a decreasing petroleum supply. Fueled with methanol or hydrogen derived from biomass, fuel cells can also effectively address the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from that fleet. The extent to which this combination might affect petroleum displacement depends on the amount of biomass that could be produced and the efficiency of its conversion to a fuel compatible with fuel cells. Reduction of CO2 emissions by the best current biofuel technology will be limited by biofuel supply. Biomass conversion efficiency, petroleum displacement, and overall net CO2 emission reduction can be improved, and the cost of CO2 reduction minimized, by use of natural gas as co-feedstock. The extra hydrogen provided by natural gas allows these improvements by eliminating the partial shift of carbon monoxide to CO2 that is otherwise necessary; elimination of that step and additional in situ leveraging of fuel yield by conventional reforming reactions also reduce production cost. A thermochemical process utilizing both biomass and natural gas as co-feedstocks makes possible the additional environmental advantage of utilizing waste methane and the carbonaceous wastes and sludge from landfills and waste-water treatment facilities for conversion to clean transportation fuel. Thus, Greenhouse gas emissions from these important municipal sources can be reduced, together with landfill disposal requirements.
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Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY
AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL DIVISION
ATMOSPHERIC PROTECTION BRANCH