Reports & Papers

17 Items

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

The Future of Low-Carbon Road Transport: What Role for Second-Generation Biofuels?

| June 2015

The promise, prospects, and public policy trade-offs related to second-generation biofuels in road transport were addressed in an executive session convened at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, on April 7 and 8, 2015. The workshop brought together twenty-eight of the world's leading experts from the fields of policy, science, and business for an intensive two-day session. This report is a summary of the main points and issues raised over the two days. It has been reviewed by all the participants. The summary is intended to reflect the breadth of the discussion, rather than to suggest any form of overall consensus among the participants.

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Commercializing Second-Generation Biofuels: Scaling Up Sustainable Supply Chains and the Role of Public Policy

The promise, prospects, and public policy trade-offs related to the greater use and production of second-generation biofuels were addressed in an executive session convened by the Harvard Kennedy School on November 13 and 14, 2014. The session attracted more than 25 of the world's leading experts from the fields of policy, science, and business for an intensive two day session. The agenda consisted of three sessions focused on (i) the sustainability of cellulosic supply chains, (ii) government policy options to attract investment and (iii) government policy options to ensure that environmental objectives are met.

Discussion Paper

Sustainability Certification in the Biofuel Sector

    Author:
  • Annalisa Zezza
| March 2013

This paper assesses how certification programs adopted by EU countries have affected biofuel development in Brazil, and identifies some of the lessons learned in designing future certification programs. The paper challenges the idea of the central importance of market benefits as the driving force behind private regimes for environmental and social governance.

The world's first grid-scale, flywheel-based energy storage plant is being built in Stephentown, N.Y. The plant is being built by Beacon Power Corporation (NASDAQ: BCON) & is supported by a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE.

Beacon Power Corp. Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Transforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies

"The focus of the workshop was on the demonstration stage of the technology innovation cycle. Current policies do not adequately address the private sector’s inability to overcome the demonstration "valley of death" for new energy technologies. Investors and financiers fear that the technology and operational risks at this stage of the cycle remain too high to justify the level of investment to build a commercial-sized facility."

Conceptual drawing of a single B&W mPower™ nuclear reactor module inside its own independent, underground containment.

Babcock & Wilcox Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Tranforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies—Framing Statement

"There is broad political consensus that the current energy system in the United States is unable to meet the nation's future energy needs, from the security, environment, and economic perspectives. New energy technologies are required to increase the availability of domestic energy supplies, to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our energy system, to improve the reliability of current energy infrastructure (e.g., smart grid, energy storage), and to increase energy efficiency throughout the economy."

The Corn Plus ethanol plant at Winnebago, Minn., Mar. 16, 2009, is seeking state funding to run a pipe from the city's wastewater treatment plant to their plant in an attempt to reduce ground water consumption.

AP Photo

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Water Consumption of Energy Resource Extraction, Processing, and Conversion

This paper provides an overview of water consumption for different sources of energy, including extraction, processing, and conversion of resources, fuels, and technologies. The primary focus of this paper is to summarize the consumptive use of water for different sources of energy. Where appropriate, levels of water withdrawals are also discussed, especially in the context of cooling of thermoelectric power plants.

Discussion Paper

How Good Politics Results in Bad Policy: The Case of Biofuel Mandates

| September 2010

This paper argues that the growing list of concerns about the impact of biofuel targets and mandates are the predictable result of a failure to follow the basic principles of good policy-making. Good policy-making requires developing a policy goal or target (i.e., reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing oil consumption, or increasing rural economic development) and designing an instrument to efficiently meet that particular goal. The more precise the goal, the better. In addition, for each target, there should be at least one policy instrument. You cannot meet two goals with only one instrument. This paper argues that the current U.S. biofuels mandates do not represent the most efficient or precise instrument to meet any of the policy's stated goals.

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

DOE FY 2011 Budget Request for Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment: Analysis and Recommendations

This analysis provides an overview the Department of Energy's fiscal year 2011 energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment (ERD3) budget proposals, and lays out actionable recommendations to strengthen the effort.  Overall, the report concludes that the 7 percent requested increase in applied energy research, development, and demonstration funds, while welcome in a time of budget stringency, remains well short of the sustained investment likely to be needed to meet the energy demands of the 21st century.

Discussion Paper

Biofuels Development Strategy

    Author:
  • Brendan Luecke
| Apr. 14, 2010

The Dominican Republic is well positioned to benefit from the development of an ethanol industry.  It has adequate land resources and, under favorable market conditions, can produce ethanol cost-competitively for both domestic consumption and export. The circumstances of the Dominican Republic are common to many developing nations considering biofuels development. The framework approach used in this paper and its conclusions may be applicable to biofuels initiatives in other developing nations.

Discussion Paper

Certification Strategies, Industrial Development and a Global Market for Biofuels

    Authors:
  • Ricardo Hausmann
  • Rodrigo Wagner
| Jan. 13, 2010

In a discussion paper released by Harvard University's Sustainability Science Program and the Belfer Center's Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Ricardo Hausmann and Rodrigo Wagner lay out five organizing principles for maximizing the development impact of a global biofuel market.

A disproportionately large amount of the world's agronomic potential for the production of bio-ethanol is concentrated in a subset of developing countries. To develop that potential, countries need both the existence of an appropriate local business ecosystem and reliable global demand. The creation of a global market for green biofuels, however, is affected by a constellation of diverse and sometimes conflicting policy goals, which tend to complicate policy discussion. In this paper we compile a set of principles to guide the design of a global market for green biofuels.