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OEPNU Reports

    • Measuring the Bioeconomy: Recommended Revisions to the NAICS and NAPCS (PDF, 498 KB): The report briefly reviews the existing literature on the bioeconomy; considers justifications, challenges, and benefits for revised classifications; and offers potential revisions for tracking the growth of the bioeconomy over time. This report fulfills the requirements of Executive Order No. 14081 section 10(b)(ii)(A). This section of the Executive Order calls for recommendations to update the North American Industrial Classification System and the North American Product Classification System to improve measurement of the bioeconomy.

      Prepared by the Bioeconomy Interagency Technical Working Group, with participation from USDA, DOE, DOC, EPA, NSF BLS, DOD, FDA, and OMB. 2023. Contact: Tony Radich,

    • Indicators and Trends of the U.S. Biobased Economy: 2019 Through 2021 (PDF, 3.5 MB): This report provides an update on bioindicators of the U.S. economy for calendar years 2019 through 2021 with policy updates that include 2022. Key governmental and industry drivers to near-term and longer-term growth of the U.S. biobased economy are presented. This report is one in a series, with data through 2021. Detailed data are available in a spreadsheet (XLSX, 696 KB).

      Prepared by Golden, J.S.; Ha, H.; Pascual-Gonzalez, J.; Aguilar-Mogas, A.; Brown, T.; Otis, A.; and Radich, A. 2024.

    • 2018 Indicators of the U.S. Biobased Economy (PDF, 20.0 MB): The biobased economy is the set of activities relating to the production of energy or commodities from biological sources rather than fossil sources. This report covers major field crops for bioenergy and biobased products, bioenergy indicators, and biobased products. The report is one in a series, with data through 2018. Detailed data are available in a spreadsheet (XLSX, 200 KB).

      Prepared by Golden, J.S.; Pascual-Gonzalez, J.; Aguilar-Mogas, A; Paynter, S.R.; and Radich, A. 2022.

    • 2017 Indicators of the U.S. Biobased Economy (PDF, 28.4 MB): The biobased economy is playing an increasingly important role in the American economy. Through innovations in renewable energies and the emergence of a new generation of biobased products, the sectors that drive the biobased economy are providing job creation and economic growth. This report is one in a series, with data through 2017.

      Prepared by Golden, J.S.; Handfield, R.; Pascual-Gonzalez, J.; and Morrison, B.C. 2020.

    • The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework: The Framework provides a guiding structure for federal agencies to address key scientific and technical challenges that limit expansion of a domestic bioeconomy, serving as a guiding document for the BR&D Board member agencies to (1) increase government accountability and efficiency, (2) maximize interagency coordination on bioeconomy research and other activities, and (3) accelerate innovative and sustainable technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources to enhance U.S. security, economic growth, job creation, and environmental quality.

      Prepared by the Biomass Research and Development Board’s Operations Committee and Interagency Working groups. 2019.

    • FACTSHEET: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage: A three page discussing the role of BECCS in meeting net negative carbon emission goals.

      Prepared Thangaraj, P., Okoye, S., Gordon, B., Zilberman, D., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • FACTSHEET: Bioproducts: A short summary of bioproducts, the role they play the global economy, the advantage of bioproducts, and potential for expanded utilization of CO2 as a bioproduct.

      Prepared Thangaraj, Gordon, B., Zilberman, D., Wang, D., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • FACTSHEET: Duckweed as Biomass: Briefly examines the various potential roles of duckweed in waste remediation, water detoxification, and biofuels.

      Prepared by Thangaraj, P., Lam, E., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • FACTSHEET: Manipulation to Improve Sustainability of Biomass Production: A three page factsheet discussing methods to increase output and economic viability of biomass production through microbiome manipulation.

      Prepared by Thangaraj, P., Brumfield, R., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • Indicators of the U.S. Biobased Economy: The biobased economy is playing an increasingly important role in the American economy. Through innovations in renewable energies and the emergence of a new generation of biobased products, the sectors that drive the biobased economy are providing job creation and economic growth. To further understand and analyze trends in the biobased economy, this report compares 2011 and 2016 report data.

      Prepared by Golden, J.S., Handfield, R., Pascual-Gonzalez, J., Agsten, B., Brennan, T., Khan, L., True, E. 2018.

    • Dynamic Volatility Spillovers in Agricultural and Energy Commodities: This study examines the changing interrelations among corn and energy future prices from 1997 to 2014. A spillover index is used in the analysis, which allows for accounting of a range of agricultural and energy future prices, including economic fundamentals and market speculation. Results show most variability in a given commodity is explained by past behavior, however, relative volatility spillovers between corn, crude oil, and ethanol futures prices has increased substantially.

      Prepared by Xiarchos, I. M., Burnett, J. W. 2017.

    • USDA OCE Review of Lark 2022 For Submission (PDF, 290 KB): In 2022, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published “Environmental Outcomes of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard”, by Lark et al. Lark et al. 2022 found that applying their estimate of domestic soil carbon loss associated with ethanol production to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) regulatory impact analysis (EPA 2010) would significantly increase the carbon intensity of corn ethanol, raising the value from being 21.4% lower than gasoline to at least 24.3% higher than gasoline. This document contains USDA’s review of Lark et al. 2022 methodology and findings.

    • Assessing Future Market Opportunities and Challenges for E15 and Higher Ethanol Blends (PDF, 2.5 MB): The report evaluates future market opportunities for higher ethanol blends and identifies the greatest potential in E15. The report also provides an analysis of barriers for higher ethanol blends, including technical, legal, and economic challenges.

      Prepared by Xiarchos, I.M.; Rosenfeld, J.; Kaffel, M.; Heinrich, A.; Erickson, H.; Lewandrowski, J.; Pape, D. 2022.

    • Market Effects and Welfare Impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard: An analysis of the market effects and welfare impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The analysis was done under a USDA cooperative agreement with Cornell University.

      Prepared by De Gorter, H., Just, D., Korting, C., Radich, A. 2019.

    • U.S. Biodiesel/Renewable Diesel Market: This report is a graphical presentation of the U.S. biomass-based diesel market with data through December 2017, including historical production, trade, and impact of Government policies.

      Prepared by Ernest Carter. 2018.

    • A Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Corn-Based Ethanol: The RFS2 directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do a full GHG life-cycle analysis (LCA) for corn ethanol and to include both direct and significant indirect sources of emissions. Since 2010 large body of new information has become available—including new data, scientific studies, industry trends, technical reports, and updated emissions coefficients. The primary purpose of this report is to consider the complete set of information now available related to the life-cycle emissions for corn-based ethanol and based on this information, assess its current GHG emissions profile.

      Prepared by Rosenfeld, J., Lewandrowski, J., Hendrickson, T., Jaglo, K., Moffroid, K., Pape, D. 2018.

    • FACTSHEET: Alternative Aviation Fuel: A three-page fact sheet discussing the current status of the aviation emissions, and the role of biofuels in decarbonizing the aviation sector.

      Prepared by Thangaraj, P., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • FACTSHEET: Biofuels: Briefly discusses biofuels, including biomass conversion, U.S. biofuel consumption, environmental benefits, and logistical challenges.

      Prepared Thangaraj, Zilberman, D., Hochman, G. 2018.

    • The Economic Impacts of U.S. Tariffs for Ethanol and Biodiesel: Discussion of trends and tariff policy issues in world biofuel markets, and quantitative estimates of the economic impacts of US import tariffs and antidumping duties applied in ethanol and biodiesel markets. Findings show that that biodiesel tariffs have more significant effects than the ethanol tariff. The three main outcomes from tariff policy are investigated: (1) impacts on production and consumption levels in the US and other major biofuel countries; (2) impacts on trade flows between countries; and (3) impacts on US and world biofuel prices. Knowledge of these effects is important for policy makers as they consider future changes to biofuel trade policy and evaluate the effects of historical policies.

      Prepared by Helmar, M., Johnson, S. R., Meyers, R., Whistance, J., Baumes, H. 2017.

    • 2015 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry: The ratio of energy in a gallon of ethanol relative to the external fossil energy required to produce the corn and process and ship the ethanol is an important measure of sustainability of the corn ethanol industry. This report examines the transition of ethanol from an energy sink in the 1990s to a substantial net energy gain at present, and potential sources of future improvement.

      Prepared by Gallagher, P.W., Yee, W. C., Baumes, H. S. 2016.

    • Literature Review of Estimated Market Effects of U.S. Corn Starch Ethanol: A review of literature published from 2010 to 2015 related to the impact of corn starch ethanol on corn price and quantity, land use, livestock, and liquid fuels. Provided information is intended to help to assess some of the consequences of biofuel quantity changes and can be used to support GHG emission calculations.

      Prepared by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, February 2016.

    • Renewable Energy Trends, Options, and Potentials for Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural America (PDF, 5.7 MB): This report describes a set of renewable energy technologies and systems (including feedstock production). It synthesizes what is publicly available for each in the technical and scientific literature, government and industry reports, and other information sources related to the state of adoption, adoption costs, adoption benefits (including economic, greenhouse gas mitigation, and energy security), and the challenges to expanding adoption further. It also discusses the roles federal and State policies have played in supporting the development and adoption of renewable energy systems.

      Schultz, C., D. Man, J. Rosenfeld, M. McCurdy, M. Anderson, K. Jaglo, B. Goossen, M. Kaffel, J. M. Farrell, F. Wissell, T. Hendrickson, J. Lukas, T. Buchholz, I. M. Xiarchos, W. Hanson, J. Lewandrowski, D. Pape, 2021

    • Projecting Landscape Forest Carbon Emissions from Changes in Forest Biomass Electricity Generation and Forest Products Markets from 2014 to 2035: An Analysis in Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. : Assessment of potential impacts on forest landscape carbon levels that would accompany hypothetical changes in the generation of electricity using forest biomass at the state level.

      Prepared by Abt, R.C., D.R. Becker, C.S. Galik, M.J. Kauffman, G.S. Latta, R.W. Malmsheimer. 2018.

    • Marcellus Shale Gas Development and Farming: Examination of potential changes in farming in the Marcellus region associated with unconventional natural gas drilling activity, which considers 18 different county-level agricultural variables. While the findings show no significant changes in the number of farms or land in farms in drilling counties relative to non-drilling counties, an increase in median farm sizes was observed, indicating potential consolidation in drilling counties.

      Prepared by Hoy, K. A., Xiarchos, I. M., Kelsey, T. W., Brasier, K. J., Glenna, L. L. 2018.

    • Coal-Power Plants Rejuvenated With Biomass: An Economic, Social, and Environmentally Sustainable Transition to Clean Power: Examines the potential to retrofit coal power plants to allow them to co-fire with biomass, which can extend the life of existing coal-fired power plants, allowing them to meet more stringent EPA air emission regulations, while delaying the full costs of adopting cleaner conversion technologies.

      Prepared by Stutzman, S., Weiland, B., Sesmero, J., Preckel, P., Wetzstein, M., Duffield, J. 2017.

    • New Dynamics in Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy for Rural America: This paper discusses the multi-level regulatory context in which renewable energy and shale play natural gas and oil development occur, how they affect local communities, the environment, infrastructure, and government income and spending. Findings suggest that long-term employment effects are relatively low for each form of development, however, renewable power plants offer a steadier stream of income and tax revenue, and lower environmental risks than unconventional fossil energy development.

      Prepared by Brown, J. P., Coupal, R., Hitaj, C., Kelsey, T. W., Krannich, R. S., Xiarchos, I. M. 2017.

    • Unconventional Shale Gas Development and Agriculture in the Appalachian Basin Marcellus (PDF, 2 MB): This report investigates whether the recent expansion of unconventional shale gas drilling in the Marcellus play might be impacting the agricultural sector of the region. Variables examined include farmland and farm losses, changes in farm size, farm consolidation, changes in the market value of machinery and equipment, and changes in the market value of land and buildings per acre.

      Prepared by Xiarchos, I. M., Hoy, K., Doyle, K., Romania, M., Brasier, K., Glenna, L., Kelsey, T. 2017.

    • Wind Energy Land Distribution in the United States of America: An analysis showing the degree of integration of wind-energy development within rural American and the agricultural sector. While wind development has become more regionally dispersed over time, it remains concentrated in top-producing agricultural states, with cropland and rangeland hosting the vast majority of wind turbines.

      Prepared by Xiarchos, I. M., Sandborn, S. 2017.