CBES LogoThe Center for BioEnergy Sustainability (CBES) is a leading resource for dealing with the environmental impacts and the ultimate sustainability of biomass production for conversion to biofuels and bio-based products. Its purpose is to use science and analysis to understand the sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) of current and potential future bioenergy production and distribution; to identify approaches to enhance bioenergy sustainability; and to serve as an independent source of the highest quality data and analysis for bioenergy stakeholders and decision makers. It focuses on

  • Bioenergy options from a systems perspective
  • Sustainability as a combination of environmental, economic, and social concerns
  • Appropriate scales for addressing bioenergy sustainability concerns
  • Tradeoffs in implications of land-use and land-management decisions
  • Quantifying environmental, economic, and social implications of bioenergy choices at local, regional, and global scales
  • Lignocellulosic feedstock options and their implications for ecosystem services and social and economic benefits
  • Sustainability metrics

Concerns about the social, economic, and environmental effects are driven by the ambitious U.S. goals to displace large portions of consumed petroleum with biofuels in a relatively short time. However, these concerns are not unique to the United States; similar ones have been raised in other countries that have other goals, potential feedstocks, and cropping and conversion systems. As a result, a worldwide need exists for high-quality data on the impacts and sustainability of biofeedstock production and for comprehensive analyses of the production, use, and sustainability of biofuels. CBES provides those data and analyses.

ORNL researchers have been performing analyses of biofeedstock options and have been researching the development of dedicated bioenergy crops for the past 30 years. That research has

  • Fostered understanding of the systems context in which energy decisions are made
  • Evaluated the feasibility and implications of sustainable bioenergy options through field, laboratory, and model experiments 
  • Tested, calibrated, and determined sensitivities and uncertainties of models and their projections
  • Assessed the data used to characterize bioenergy options
  • Communicated scientific results to decision makers

Researchers at ORNL have world-class facilities, capabilities, and tools for the analysis of the production of biofuels and of transportation systems and fuels, including biofuels. Many seminal contributions by these experts (e.g., the Billion Ton Study) have already undergirded decision making at the national and international levels. Over time, CBES will broaden its local, regional, national and global outreach and serve as a key means for ORNL to share its high-quality data and analysis regarding the sustainability of bioenergy with diverse stakeholders and decision makers.

As a result of its three decades of experience, ORNL has a comprehensive portfolio of research and development in bioenergy. It has more than 80 staff members working on such aspects of bioenergy as systems biology, biochemical engineering, national and global bioenergy analysis, resource economics, logistics modeling, spatial-data analysis and modeling, geospatial science and technology, transportation analysis, and environmental effects. This research portfolio is supported by the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Agriculture.

On the operational level, CBES is a focal point and business-development vehicle for ORNL’s capabilities related to bioenergy sustainability and socioeconomic analyses. As such, it complements the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), also located at ORNL, which focuses on the problem of converting lignocellulosic biomass into reactive intermediaries necessary for the cellulosic biofuel industry. Together, these centers provide a strong integrating mechanism and business-development tool for ORNL's science and technology portfolio in bioenergy. In close collaboration with BESC and the established program offices and line organizations, CBES

  • Promotes, coordinates, and leverages the diverse suite of projects related to bioenergy sustainability across ORNL
  • Sponsors outreach events to inform CBES associates, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public through symposia and workshops on sustainability issues
  • Develops background materials for stakeholders and the public that summarize the state of bioenergy sustainability understanding
  • Is producing an expert analysis of the state of the art of bioenergy sustainability
  • Takes advantage of the 10,000 acres of switchgrass plantings under the Tennessee Bioenergy Initiative to study the ecology of large-scale biomass production and to address the regional-scale environmental benefits and challenges of cellulosic ethanol production in the southeastern United States

You can contact CBES by writing, calling, or e-mailing
Virginia Dale, Director
Center for BioEnergy Sustainability
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6035
Tel: 865-576-8043
Fax: 865-574-7287
dalevh@ornl.gov

facebook twitter

News

From the Southern Bioenergy Network News – March 2015 Edition - Play Bioenergy Jeopardy!  Alongside other interactive learning opportunities prepared by the UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Initiative and partners, organizers said that "Bioenergy Jeopardy!" was the most popular of the activities because the kids had a great time learning about Southeast Bioenergy using the popular "Jeopardy!" format and categories including "Energy," "Types of Biomass" and "Bioenergy Bonanza." Click here to play.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology will be held this July 19-22, 2015. The plenary sessions will cover feedstocks, a regional focus on the biobased economy, biobased innovations impacting our future, industry success stories and aviation biofuels. For more information and registrations see this announcement.

In a new Article by Carla Harper in Biomass Magazine titled "Opportunity Still Knocks" two producers act on an opportunity they see for far smaller pellet operations. To see the entire article click here

Also in Biomass Magazine, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is celebrating their 100th patent application. Click here for the full article.

ORNL News featured a new article titled "Sugar and Splice" by Chris Samoray. The article discusses identifing genes best suited for producing biofuel from poplar trees planted in different environments. To read more, click here.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. For more information Click Here

BETO International SCOPE Report Launch Announcement for April 14, 2015

CBES Forums

The April CBES Forum will consist of a visit to and tour of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility.  The tour is schedule for April 15, 2015 beginning at 3:00pm conducted by the Facility Operations Manager, Connie Jackson.  The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility is at the Horizon Center, 92 Palladium Way, Oak Ridge. For more information, see below:
Pamphlet
Fact Sheet
Map and Directions to the Facility

Future Forum Plans

The May CBES Forum features Latha Baskaran of the Environmental Sciences, Landscape Ecology and Regional Analysis Group. Her talk is entitled Aquatic Macroinvertebrates for Assessing Water Quality Effects Associated with Bioenergy. The forum will begin at 3:30pm in Building 1505, Rm. 189. Click here for abstract.

In June, the CBES Forum guest speaker will be Chris Lituma. Chris is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Native Grasslands Management, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His talk is titled Multi-scale Assessment of Wildlife Sustainability in Switchgrass Biofuel Feedstock Production.

Links

Biomass Magazine - http://biomassmagazine.com

Small Giant of Bioenergy http://www.bioenergyadvice.com/

www.biomass.energy.gov

Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF), sponsored by DOE and developed by a team at ORNL led by CBES member Budhendra Bhaduri, now has its own interactive website.

IBSS - Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems

Extension - Objective, research-based and credible information you can use every day to improve your life