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OCR for page 301
Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts B Statement of Task The Panel on Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuels was tasked to examine the technical potential for reducing reliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation, principally in automobiles and trucks but also in other vehicles and transportation modes, through the use of alternatives to traditional petroleum sources. The focus of the panel’s efforts would be on liquid fuels produced from plant feedstocks and liquid fuels that can be derived from coal feedstocks. In keeping with the charge to the Committee on America’s Energy Future, the panel was not to recommend policy choices but would assess the state of development of technologies. The panel was charged to evaluate technologies on the basis of their estimated times to initial commercial deployment and to provide the following information on each: Initial deployment times <10 yr: costs, performance, and effects. 10–25 yr: barriers, implications for costs, and R&D challenges and needs. >25 yr: barriers and R&D challenges and needs, especially basic-research needs. The primary focus of the study would be on the quantitative characterization of technologies whose initial deployment times would be less than 10 years. In light of existing studies and literature and the panel’s own knowledge and expertise, the following should be considered for each feedstock or technology pathway chosen by the panel to the extent that existing data allow:
OCR for page 302
Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts For biomass-based liquid fuels, estimate the full fuel-cycle input—for example, energy, water, fertilizer, and land—needed to grow, collect and harvest, and process and convert the feedstock into a unit of fuel output. As part of its effort, the panel would also describe the implications for land use, agricultural practices, prices, externalities (such as implications for the environment), and other factors that it believes are important. For liquid fuels from coal, estimate the full fuel-cycle requirements—for example, mining, transport, and water—per unit of fuel produced. Estimate capital and operating costs per unit of output and total cost per unit of output. Costs per unit of output should be calculated on a consistent and comparable basis. Estimate full fuel-cycle environmental emissions per unit of fuel output—for example, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, heavy metals—and land, water, and other effects identified by the panel that should be included. It is expected that the panel would need to consider those technologies in the context of and in competition with other fuels that may enter the transportation sector during the periods examined by the panel, such as hydrogen, natural gas, electricity to power hybrid vehicles, reformulated gasoline, and petroleum-derived gasoline and diesel. The Committee on America’s Energy Future, by drawing on existing National Academies and other recent comprehensive energy studies, will address the state of technology for hydrogen-fueled and hybrid electric vehicles.