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Waste-to-Energy biofuel production potential for selected feedstocks in the conterminous United States


  • Skaggs, Richard L.
  • Coleman, André M.
  • Seiple, Timothy E.
  • Milbrandt, Anelia R.


Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technologies offer the promise of diverting organic wastes, including wastewater sludge, livestock waste, and food waste, for beneficial energy use while reducing the quantities of waste that are disposed or released to the environment. To ensure economic and environmental viability of WtE feedstocks, it is critical to gain an understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of waste production. Detailed information about waste characteristics, capture/diversion, transport requirements, available conversion technologies, and overall energy conversion efficiency is also required. Building on the development of a comprehensive WtE feedstock database that includes municipal wastewater sludge; animal manure; food processing waste; and fats, oils, and grease for the conterminous United States, we conducted a detailed analysis of the wastes’ potential for biofuel production on a site-specific basis. Our analysis indicates that with conversion by hydrothermal liquefaction, these wastes have the potential to produce up to 22.3GL/y (5.9Bgal/y) of a biocrude oil intermediate that can be upgraded and refined into a variety of liquid fuels, in particular renewable diesel and aviation kerosene. Conversion to aviation kerosene can potentially meet 23.9% of current U.S. demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Skaggs, Richard L. & Coleman, André M. & Seiple, Timothy E. & Milbrandt, Anelia R., 2018. "Waste-to-Energy biofuel production potential for selected feedstocks in the conterminous United States," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 82(P3), pages 2640-2651.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:2640-2651
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2017.09.107

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Li, Shuyun & Jiang, Yuan & Snowden-Swan, Lesley J. & Askander, Jalal A. & Schmidt, Andrew J. & Billing, Justin M., 2021. "Techno-economic uncertainty analysis of wet waste-to-biocrude via hydrothermal liquefaction," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 283(C).
    3. Foster, William & Azimov, Ulugbek & Gauthier-Maradei, Paola & Molano, Liliana Castro & Combrinck, Madeleine & Munoz, Jose & Esteves, Jaime Jaimes & Patino, Luis, 2021. "Waste-to-energy conversion technologies in the UK: Processes and barriers – A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    4. Hansen, Samuel & Mirkouei, Amin & Diaz, Luis A., 2020. "A comprehensive state-of-technology review for upgrading bio-oil to renewable or blended hydrocarbon fuels," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    5. Badgett, Alex & Newes, Emily & Milbrandt, Anelia, 2019. "Economic analysis of wet waste-to-energy resources in the United States," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 224-234.
    6. Konstantinos Anastasakis & Patrick Biller & René B. Madsen & Marianne Glasius & Ib Johannsen, 2018. "Continuous Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Biomass in a Novel Pilot Plant with Heat Recovery and Hydraulic Oscillation," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-23, October.

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