Climate Change

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Associated with Bioenergy and Other Biogenic Sources

Biogenic CO2 emissions are defined as CO2 emissions related to the natural carbon cycle, as well as those resulting from the combustion, harvest, combustion, digestion, fermentation, decomposition, or processing of biologically based materials.

Examples of biogenic CO2 emissions include:

  • CO2 from the combustion of biogas collected from biological decomposition of waste in landfills, wastewater treatment, or manure management processes
  • CO2 from combustion of the biological fraction of municipal solid waste or biosolids
  • CO2 derived from combustion of biological material, including forest-derived and agriculture-derived feedstocks

EPA has taken a number of actions related to biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources:

April 2016: Stakeholder Workshop - Fostering Constructive Dialogue on the Role of Biomass in Stationary Source Carbon Strategies

States and stakeholders have shown strong interest in the role biomass can play in state strategies to address carbon pollution. Many states have extensive expertise in the area of sound carbon- and GHG-beneficial forestry and land management practices, and exhibit approaches to biomass and bioenergy that are unique to each state’s economic, environmental and renewable energy goals.

To support efforts to further evaluate the role of biomass in stationary source carbon strategies, EPA hosted a public workshop on April 7, 2016, for states and stakeholders to share their successes, experiences and approaches to deploying biomass in ways that have been, and can be, carbon beneficial.

See the agenda.

November 2014:

Memo on Biogenic CO2 Emissions

Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe issued a memorandum to the EPA's Regional Air Division Directors describing the EPA's considerations pertaining to biogenic CO2 emissions in the context of the Clean Power Plan and the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program.

Revised Framework for Assessing Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources

To continue advancing the Agency's technical understanding of the role the use of biomass can play in addressing overall greenhouse emissions, the EPA developed a second draft of the technical report, the Framework for Assessing Biogenic Carbon Dioxide for Stationary Sources, for further review. The revised report incorporated the latest information from the scientific community and other stakeholders. As a next step forward, EPA initiated a second round of targeted peer review with the Science Advisory Board, in order to continue to refine its technical assessment.

September 2012: EPA Science Advisory Board Review of the 2011 Draft Accounting Framework for CO2 Emissions for Biogenic Sources Study

EPA's Science Advisory Board reviewed the 2011 Draft Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources, and provided recommendations on the scientific and technical issues associated with EPA's draft assessment.

September 2011: Draft Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources

In 2011, EPA published a draft Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources. This draft was presented to SAB to review and comment on 1) EPA's characterization of the science and technical issues relevant to biogenic CO2 accounting, 2) EPA's framework, approach, and methodological choices; and 3), options for improving the framework.

July 2010: Call for Information on GHG Emissions Associated with Bioenegy and Other Biogenic Sources

In July 2010, EPA issued a Call for Information to request data about biogenic sources of carbon dioxide, general technical comments on accounting for biogenic CO2, and comments on developing an approach for such emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Programs under the Clean Air Act.

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