U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version

January 2008


Published in Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref. 2:8–11 (2008).


The USA is pursuing an array of renewable energy sources to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biomass energy and biomass ethanol are key components in this pursuit. Vast amounts of biomass feedstock will be needed to produce sufficient ethanol to meet any of the numerous target production goals. The Billion Ton Vision suggests one billion tons of biomass is needed annually to meet the ‘30x30’ goal (to replace 30% of 2004 levels of fossil transportation fuel use with ethanol by the year 2030). Great advances in technology will be required to produce this enormous quantity of biomass sustainably. These advances will not come about through ill-coordinated, competitive efforts. On the contrary, the problem of sustainably meeting the biofuel feedstock demand while continuing to meet traditional demands for agricultural output is so great that we need to focus all our energies on establishing complementary public energy policy based on facts and candid analysis; on crafting cooperative, coordinated energy goals across agencies; and on creating enthusiastic, dedicated teams of researchers and educators to develop and deploy existing and new technologies.