"Now in its fourth year, the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook series documents the revolution transforming how the US produces, delivers, and consumes energy. The 2016 Factbook provides an update through the end of 2015, highlighting a number of key developments that occurred as the long-term transformation of US energy continues to unfold."
"Argonne National Laboratory released a study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) that examines the potential effects of future biofuel production on freshwater resources in the Missouri River Basin—a region that could play a central role in the production of cellulosic biomass like switchgrass, a perennial energy crop. The study identified four areas that could be associated with increased feedstock production, and demonstrated that increasing the amount of switchgrass acreage in these hot spots could significantly improve water quality."
“U.S. consumers used nearly 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2015, but domestic production remained flat at about 1.42 billion gallons, compared with about 1.47 billion gallons in 2014 and 1.5 billion gallons in 2013. Imports rose from 510 million gallons in 2014 to an estimated 670 million gallons in 2015, a 25 percent increase.”
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. During the final month, the December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the highest on record for any month in the 136-year record.
"If you want an idea of what oceans around the world may be like in the not-too-distant future, look to the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast of the United States.
That’s the message from a team of scientists who analyzed dozens of recent research papers on climate change’s impact on ocean conditions. Their work was published in in the journal BioScience.Read More
"Researchers are looking beyond the usual suspects in the search for microbes that can efficiently break down inedible plant matter for conversion to biofuels. A new comparative study finds the natural abilities of unconventional bacteria could help boost the efficiency of cellulosic biofuel production."
"The Governors' Biofuels Coalition announced Friday that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will become chairman and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will become vice chairman of the group for 2016.
For more than 20 years, the Governors' Biofuels Coalition has worked to strengthen American energy independence and create jobs in rural communities."Read More
"The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced that it will be part of a major collaborative research project to improve sorghum's productivity under resource-limited conditions. The research should lead to strategies to increase plant biomass as well as more water use- and nutrient-efficient sorghum crop systems. The five- year $13.5 million project is funded by the the U.S. Department of Energy and will be led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln."
"An analysis of 2016 model year (MY) warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association shows that auto manufacturers explicitly approve E15 (15 percent ethanol 85 percent gasoline) use in more than 70 percent of new vehicles. This is up from 2015, when just over 60 percent of MY 2015 automobiles were clearly approved for E15."
"In the wake of the COP 21 UN Climate Summit in Paris (see this recent Huffington Post piece for my take on the agreement), a number of important questions still remain unanswered. Take for example the commitment reached by the 197 participating nations to limit warming below the "dangerous" level of 2C relative to pre-industrial time (neglecting for the time being the aspirational goal of a substantially lower 1.5C limit acknowledged in recognition of the danger posed to low-lying island nations). The question immediately arises: How much time do we have until we reach the danger zone? How close are we to the 2C warming limit?"