THE BREN SCHOOL OF Environmental Science & Management
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008
"Evaluation and Prospects of Biofuels for Transportation"
Hosted by Patricia Holden
Three driving forces motivate the search for alternative transportation fuels: climate change, energy independence, and air-quality problems. Biofuels are seen as a viable replacement for petroleum in transportation, and expectations are that they are renewable (“green”), cleaner, and domestic and will eliminate many of the problems associated with petroleum fuels. Can biofuels deliver on this promise? To answer this, we review a suite of biofuels, starting from the source feedstock, via production processes to the final products and discuss their use as transportation fuels. The review and discussion include first-, second-, and next-generation biofuels. A comparison and evaluation of biofuels as good alternatives to petroleum fuels was performed using a number of criteria. The evaluation provides a rating of their performance in terms of addressing the following issues: criteria pollutants, greenhouse gases, petroleum reduction, distribution, vehicle modification, and land use. The results indicate that not all biofuels are alike. In light of this, we discuss recommendations for the use of current first-generation biofuels and expectations for next-generation biofuels in transportation.
Jasna Tomić is Fuels Program Manager at CALSTART, a nonprofit organization dedicated to alternative transportation. Her interest is in alternative transportation solutions involving new technologies and fuels. The two main areas she is presently working in are the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), bringing hybrid trucks to the marketplace, and use of alternative fuels (e.g. biofuels, electricity) in transportation. Within HTUF, she led the largest deployment and field testing of twenty-four pre-production hybrid trucks. She is also investigating the best pathways and uses for plug-in and electric vehicles. Dr. Tomić’s expertise includes research in vehicles-to-grid power (V2G) – innovative use of electric-drive vehicles for transportation and power generation. She holds a PhD in Fuel Science from Pennsylvania State University and has over 15 years of experience working in the field of energy and fuels. She previously held positions as Research Scientist at the University of Delaware, Princeton University, and French the Institute of Petroleum. She has published extensively on energy conversion processes as well as on the use of electric-drive vehicles. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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