» Biomass energy

Local biomass burning is a dominant cause of the observed precipitation reduction in southern Africa

Observations indicate a precipitation decline over large parts of southern Africa since the 1950s. Concurrently, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols have increased due to anthropogenic activities. Here we show that local black carbon and organic carbon aerosol emissions from biomass burning activities are a main cause of the observed decline in southern African dry season precipitation over the last century. Near the main biomass burning regions, global and regional modelling indicates precipitation decreases of 20–30%, with large spatial variability. Increasing global CO2 concentrations further contribute to precipitation reductions, somewhat less in magnitude but covering a larger area. Whereas precipitation changes from increased CO2 are driven by large-scale circulation changes, the increase in biomass burning aerosols causes local drying of the atmosphere. This study illustrates that reducing local biomass burning aerosol emissions may be a useful way to mitigate reduced rainfall in the region. Read More

Bioenergy Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) establishes partnerships with key public and private stakeholders to develop and demonstrate technologies for producing cost-competitive advanced biofuels from non-food biomass resources, including cellulosic biomass, algae, and wet waste (e.g. biosolids). Read More

Agricultural Energy Curriculum (agenergy)

Agricultural Energy teaching materials for instructors. Focused on harvesting energy from farms while considering cost and efficiency. Suited for high school and higher education…and completely free. Read More

Instructional Resources

Instructional resources include GIS, KML, video, homework, and handout files for environmental science courses for grades 6-9. Read More

Student Resources

Student resources include GIS, Excel, and PDF resources for student investigation into the science of energy. Read More

Energy Home

Energy is an interdisciplinary technology-supported middle school science inquiry curriculum. This curriculum focuses on the world’s energy resources. Students use geospatial information technology (GIT) tools including GIS (My World GIS or Web GIS) and Google Earth, and inquiry-based lab activities to investigate energy sources, production, and consumption. Energy is aligned to national science and environmental education standards. Read More

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Overview and Issues

This report focuses on the mandated minimum usage requirements – referred to as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – whereby a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. It describes the general nature of the biofuels RFS and its implementation, and outlines some of the emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production needed to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate, as well as the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this rapid expansion. This report does not address the broader public policy issue of how best to support U.S. energy policy. Read More

Biomass Feedstocks for Biopower: Background and Selected Issues

The production of bioenergy – renewable energy derived from biomass – could potentially increase national energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to rural economic growth. This report provides analyses of commonly discussed biomass feedstocks and their relative potential for power generation. Additional biopower issues – feedstock accessibility, the biomass power plant carbon-neutrality debate, and unintended consequences of legislative activities to promote bioenergy – are also discussed. Read More

MIT Open Courseware: Introduction to Sustainable Energy

This class assesses current and potential future energy systems, covering resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use technologies, with emphasis on meeting regional and global energy needs in the 21st century in a sustainable manner. Instructors and guest lecturers will examine various renewable and conventional energy production technologies, energy end-use practices and alternatives, and consumption practices in different countries. Students will learn a quantitative framework to aid in evaluation and analysis of energy technology system proposals in the context of engineering, political, social, economic, and environmental goals. Students taking the graduate version, Sustainable Energy, complete additional assignments. Read More

Renewables 2010: Global Status Report

This report describes economic trends in building the capacity of renewable energy in several countries Read More


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EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

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