Uncertainty in Biomass Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In the near future, the energy sector may be required to use alternatives to fossil fuels to reduce life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Biomass-derived energy is one potential pathway to achieving this objective. However, the GHG-intensity of biomass-based energy is highly dependent on how the biomass is produced, transported, processed, and converted into liquid fuels or electricity.

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) asked the RAND Corporation to explore the issue of uncertainty in biomass GHG emissions estimates. RAND has produced a tool, the Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions model, and an accompanying user manual. Additional publications in this area are forthcoming and will also be available through this project page.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Models Developed

Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions Model, Version 2.0 (CUBE 2.0) — Dec. 12, 2011

Aimee E. Curtright, Henry H. Willis, and David R. Johnson
With David S. Ortiz, Nicholas Burger, Constantine Samaras, Aviva Litovitz, and James McGee

The Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions (CUBE) model allows user to estimate the "farm-to-gate" GHG emissions of biomass feedstocks for energy production and the uncertainty in these emissions. CUBE 2.0 updates the model and includes several additions and corrections to CUBE 1.0. In particular, the functionality and scope have been expanded by adding two additional feedstocks (corn stover and hybrid poplar) and by increasing the number and complexity of processing and transport choices.

The model was developed using Analytica and can be used with the free Analytica player.

CUBE 2.0 and the accompanying user manual can be obtained via NETL's website.

Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions Model, Version 1.0 (CUBE 1.0) — Mar. 1, 2010

Aimee E. Curtright, Henry H. Willis, David R. Johnson, David S. Ortiz, Nicholas Burger, Constantine Samaras

The Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions (CUBE) model, version 1.0, estimates farm-to-gate emissions of three dedicated energy crops (corn grain, switchgrass, and mixed prairie biomass) and two biomass residues (forest residue and mill residue).

CUBE 1.0 is publicly available through NETL's website and can be used with the free Analytica player.