Cultivation of cellulosic biomass on marginal lands in the Missouri/Mississippi River Corridor (MMRC) could improve environmental performance for the watershed, e.g. nutrient runoff interception, erosion stabilization, feedstock for bio-based energy, and barge shipments could have net energy benefits. This work reviewed marginal lands literature to reach a generic definition that could be linked with publicly available land and soil quality datasets to quantify marginal lands in the MMRC. The definition developed is: Marginal lands are non-croplands and/or lands not suitable for long-term food crop production because of high erodibility (K factor > 0.4) and/or being prone to flood. The MMRC extends 161 km from the banks of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, totaling 2.5 million km2. Bioenergy production potential was estimated using scenarios to explore the inclusion and exclusion of croplands, forestland and Conservation Reserve Program lands. Among the plausible scenarios a maximum of 189.3 billion liters and a minimum of 1.85 billion liters of bioethanol can be produced in MMRC. The maximum jet fuel production could meet all US demand and the maximum electricity production could meet 23% of current US demand. This work highlights the trade-offs associated with competing demands on land in relation to achieving bioenergy goals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal