Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Increased adoption of energy efficient technologies as well as cogeneration and waste heat recovery systems will reduce energy use by an additional 4.7 quadrillion BTUs from business-as-usual. These and other changes (energy changes due fuel switching or transformation in other sectors) can reduce projected primary energy use by 27% in 2050.
In Reinventing Fire
, non-cropland biomass provides 16 quads of primary energy in 2050. That’s six times today’s biomass consumption and 60% higher than U.S. government projections extrapolated to 2050.
The 16 quadrillion BTU of biomass used in 2050 in Reinventing Fire is supplied by agricultural residue, mill residue, dedicated energy crops, municipal solid waste and forestry residue. No cropland or edible feedstock is required.
In the transportation sector, Reinventing Fire affects jobs in oil exploration and production, auto manufacturing, auto parts and auto repair, and hydrogen and biofuels production. The net effect on jobs from these changes is relatively small.
Transformations in the transportation sector will have the net effect of saving half of refining energy, cutting 2050 industrial energy use by 3.5 quads/y.
There are different types of biofuels as well as processes to create them. RMI analysis uses the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s cellulosic ethanol process from corn stover as the basis for processing biofuels for the transportation sector.
With current fuel prices, most coal and oil use can be switched to natural gas for process heating needs.
Even with Reinventing Fire’s 2050 outlook on oil use, the nation will still need 3.1 million bbl/d of liquid fuel (minus any natural gas used in trucks). While they can't be cost-effectively electrified, planes and heavy trucks can run on second and third generation biofuels that can be produced in sufficient supply at costs below $80/barrel oil equivalent.
Key inputs to our biofuel model for key second-generation biofuel conversion processes are outlined in this table.
America's vast transportation system can continue growing and improving all without oil. In 2050 we’d rely on superefficient, lightweight vehicles and planes to move ourselves and our goods. For the remaining 3.1 Mbbl/d of liquid fuel demand not supplied by electric propulsion systems, 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels (or, in trucks, natural gas if desired) could be substituted for oil.