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U.S. biomass consumption, 2010-2050

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In Reinventing Fire, non-cropland biomass provides 16 quads of primary energy and supplies 23% of the energy consumed in the U.S. in 2050. That’s six times today’s biomass consumption and 60% higher than U.S. government projections extrapolated to 2050. However, two-thirds of the biomass comes from waste streams, one-third from feedstocks that are harvested but don’t displace cropland and needn’t harm topsoil or climate. The total feedstock requirement is large but feasible. Biomass consumption is predominantly for direct use of transportation or for the manufacturing of biofuels in the Industry sector. Biomass use for industrial heat, or heat and power, is of the general kinds now prevailing in, say, the pulp-and-paper industry, which is commonly powered by its own wastes (black liquor and hog fuel).