Keywords: agricultural residues, biodiesel, next-generation biofuels, biomass, carbon, corn, ethanol, lignocellulose, petroleum dependence, sustainability, sustainable development, feedstock availability
Opportunities and challenges of transitioning to sustainable next-generation transportation biofuels
A growing desire to reduce petroleum dependence and an increasing awareness that first-generation biofuels are unlikely to provide sustainable alternatives have spurred interest in next-generation biofuels. High production costs have been central in preventing their commercial viability thus far, yet other potential obstacles remain including feedstock availability, farmer adoption of biomass crops, and the development of new biofuels within a market dominated by first-generation technologies. The potential rewards of working through these challenges are immense, as next-generation feedstocks may not only use existing and abandoned cropland more efficiently, but they may increase the valuable ecosystem services these lands provide.