The Biofuels Center is focused on long-term sustainability. While economic sustainability is important, environmental sustainability will also be key to developing a successful renewable fuels industry.
Biofuels hold significant promise in increased energy security, reduced green house gas emissions, and local economic development. However, biofuels have also been criticized for their possible adverse impacts on the environment, food security, and land use. The Center's focus is on assessing sustainable industry development opportunities and supporting the growth of an environmentally sustainable industry. The challenge is in finding ways to support the development of new cellulosic technologies with responsible policies and economic instruments to help ensure biofuels commercialization is sustainable.
Responsible commercialization of biofuels represents an opportunity to enhance sustainable economic prospects. One example is in the currently limited markets for woody biomass resources in North Carolina that would be stimulated by advanced biofuels using woody biomass as a feedstock. Improved forest management practices, purpose-grown trees, managed forests, and intercropping all provide options for enhanced economics and environmental sustainability. Advanced biofuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks such as wood and energy grasses offer an improved environmental and net energy profile compared to first-generation biofuels.
In summary, biofuels help to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, reduce green house gas emissions, and boost local economic development. Carefully crafted biofuels industry strategies will help to develop a successful North Carolina biofuels industry sector while simultaneously helping to ensure sustainability of local environmental resources.
Sustainability Projects and the Center
The Center is involved in a number of projects that fall under the broad heading of sustainability: