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Healing the planet’s atmosphere is a pretty straightforward proposition. Basically, we stop burning fossil fuels to produce energy for electricity, heat, and transportation and replace them with renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biofuels.

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Mar 18, 2024

New Assessment Shows That America’s Abundant Supply of Renewable Resources Can Produce
Enough Sustainable Aviation Fuel to Exceed Projected 2050 Market Demand

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the 2023
Billion-Ton Report (BT23), which shows that the U.S. could sustainably triple its production of
biomass to more than 1 billion tons per year. The report—the fourth in a series of assessments of
potential biomass resources in the United States since 2005—finds that 1 billion tons of biomass
could satisfy over 100% of the projected demand for airplane fuel in the country, allowing the
U.S. to fully decarbonize the aviation industry with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Advancing
clean energy solutions like biomass is critical to reaching long-term national decarbonization
objectives and a key component of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to deliver new
economic opportunities across the nation while tackling the climate crisis.

“President Biden is dedicated to building a thriving bioeconomy that benefits all Americans and
ensures everyone from farmers and scientists to healthcare professionals and engineers can play
a leading role in our clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M.
Granholm. “The Billion-Ton Report shows that America is poised to lead the world in the
emerging renewable biomass industry—unlocking exciting economic opportunities for
agricultural and rural communities and helping advance the sustainable fuels we need to cut
harmful emissions and deliver healthier communities across the nation.”

The decarbonization of America’s transportation and industrial sectors depends on a significant
increase in the production of renewable biomass for use in liquid fuel, bio-based chemicals, and
other products. Highlights from the report include:

  • The U.S. currently uses about 342 million tons of biomass, including corn grain for
    ethanol and wood/wood waste for heat and power, to meet roughly 5% of America’s
    annual energy demand
  •  The U.S. can triple the production of biomass, producing an estimated 60 billion gallons
    of low greenhouse gas liquid fuels, while still meeting the projected demand for food,
    feed, fiber, conventional forest products, and exports
  • Currently available but unused biomass resources can add around 350 million tons of
    additional biomass per year above current uses and double the U.S. bioeconomy
  • Biomass resources, like energy crops, in a future mature market can provide more than
    400 million tons of biomass per year above current uses
  • Further technological innovations could lead to evolving and emerging resources that
    represent additional biomass potential
  • The analysis ensures sustainable outcomes by accounting for potential risks to soil, air
    and water quality, water availability, and the imperative to protect America’s forests and

The BT23 report analyzes the biomass production capacity of approximately sixty resources,
several of which have never before been the subject of a DOE Billion-Ton assessment. These
include winter oilseed crops, trees and brush harvested from forests to prevent wildfires,
macroalgae such as seaweed cultivated in ocean farms, and carbon dioxide from industrial
plants. The report finds that the wide dispersion and variety of these resources will ensure that
the benefits of expanded biomass production extend to both rural and urban areas


Expanding the domestic production of sustainable biomass supports the Biden-Harris
Administration’s whole-of-government approach to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and
strengthening U.S. international leadership in clean energy. It also supports the Sustainable
Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, which aims to reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from
SAF by 50% compared to conventional fuel, and the Clean Fuels & Products Energy
Earthshot™, which aims to decarbonize the fuel and chemical industry through alternative
sources of carbon.

BT23, developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on behalf of DOE’s Bioenergy
Technologies Office, reflects the contributions and reviews of multiple federal agencies, national
laboratories, universities, and industry stakeholders. Learn more about the 2023 Billion-Ton

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the Plan to Enable the
Bioeconomy in America: Building a Resilient Biomass Supply report, which outlines a plan to
boost biomass supply chain resiliency for domestic biobased product manufacturing while also
advancing environmental sustainability and market opportunities for small and mid-sized

Visit the Bioenergy Technologies Office webpage to learn more about DOE’s efforts to build a
strong, low-carbon bioeconomy.


Shannon Ross

Media Relations Specialist  

Strategic Engagement and Outreach Support Services BPA Program Team

Akoya + ICF Next

Contractor supporting the U.S. Department of Energy

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Mobile: 404.702.3623