Current Production and Use
A total of 7% of the U.S. energy supply in 2006 was contributed to by renewable energy, of which biomass contributed 49%. In 2005, wood, forest residue, and wood waste products contributed the most towards bio-energy at around 65%. This was followed by other waste products such as MSW, LFG, agricultural, residues and bio-solids totaling around 18%, as well as corn and soybean oil that was used to create bio-fuels and related products for a total of 18%.
Future production and use
There is currently a large potential to increase the production and use of biomass feed-stocks and the various types. The U.S. DOE and USDA went as far as to form a panel of experts in 2005 to gauge whether the land resources of the United States could maintain a sustainable source of biomass that was enough to replace 30% of the nation’s existing petroleum consumption.
They concluded that by the mid-21st century:
• The quantity of wood, forest residue, and wood waste produced sustainably for bioenergy each year could be increased by almost 300%
• The quantity of agricultural feed-stocks that could be sustainably harvested while maintaining food, feed and export requirements could be increased by 500%.
They also believed that these substantial increases in feed-stocks could occur with modest changes to the existing agricultural and forestry practices and land use, such as technological improvements for increased yields, the implementation of various crop cultivation practices, and land use alterations that would allow production of perennial crops on a much larger scale.