Focal Areas

Economic and Environmental Consequences of Bioenergy

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is a respected voice—advising industry, government and NGOs on the likely implications of expanded energy markets—in the often-contentious area of biofuels and biomass energy production. Work by the Nicholas Institute has increased appreciation of the greenhouse gas implications of bioenergy use, particularly with regard to how complex forest ecosystems respond to new demands being placed upon them.

Nicholas Institute research also identified specific gaps in liquid biofuels research and helped inform lawmakers about options to integrate biofuels into a comprehensive climate policy. Nicholas Institute staff have served on multiple external panels with direct relevance to biofuels and bioenergy issues, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Board on Biogenic Accounting and the National Academy of Sciences panel, which focuses on the greenhouse gas consequences of the U.S. tax code. Ongoing work includes evaluation of policy options to encourage sustainable bioenergy systems and estimation of biomethane supply potential across the Southeast.