Thrust Areas Ecosystem Water Institute Classification Level
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems Water and Climate Water and Society Water Resources Sustainability Springs Wetlands Watersheds Aquifers Lakes Coastal Zone  Water Institute Classification 1  Water Institute Classification 2  Water Institute Classification 3  Water Institute Classification 4

A Framework for Assessing The Hydrologic Footprint of Large-scale Bioethanol Production
Goals and Objectives
Energy independence and global climate change are motivating substantial investment in fossil fuel alternatives. As the ongoing examination of options proceeds, one of the primary alternatives for liquid fuels in particular is the use of bio-fuels. Biofuels are derived from biological feedstocks (e.g., corn, wood, sugarcane) and generally replicate the physical and energetic properties of the fossil fuels they are intended to replace (e.g., combustion temperatures, liquid vs. gas). Because the large scale implementation of biofuels would minimize implications for transforming existing transportation infrastructure, and because they are, in theory, carbon neutral with respect to emissions vs. uptake, they are being widely cited as a sustainable solution. The central criteria for evaluating the sustainability of energy resources is their ability to produce net energy (energy out per energy in), and decisions about feedstocks and processing will largely be made based on comparative energy return on investment (EROI). However, the life cycle of biofuel production includes numerous other resource inputs that need to be accounted for to determine large scale feasibility. The most obvious of these is water, particularly in light of accumulating evidence that human uses of water (both quantity and quality) are unsustainable (e.g., Vorosmarty and Sahagian 2000). Development of an analytical schema for assessing the hydrologic footprint of large-scale biofuel production is the objective of this proposal.
Available Outputs

Title: Regional water resource implications of bioethanol production in the Southeastern United States, Global Change Biology (2009), doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01868.x
Authors: Evans, J., and M. J. Cohen

Title: The Water Resource Implications of Large-Scale Bioethanol Production, Final Report
Authors: Cohen, M. J. and J. Evans

Title: The Water Resource Implications of Large-Scale Bioethanol Production, AWRA Impact Magazine, July 2009
Authors: Cohen, M.J. and J. Evans

Title: Water Institute Munch Bunch Seminar 2009 presentation

Title: Water Institute Munch Bunch Lunch Seminar 2009 abstract
Project Lead
Cohen, Matthew J
Level 4: WI PIF Related Project
Food, Energy and Water
Water Resources Sustainability
Grant Award Dates
5/15/2006 to 6/30/2020