Estimating Agricultural Impacts of Expanded Ethanol Production: Policy Implications for Water Demand and Quality
Feedstock production for large scale development of the U.S. ethanol industry and introduction of cellulose–to-ethanol technology will require extensive changes in land use and impact water demand and quality. This study compares two scenarios: attaining a 60 billion gallon per year target of ethanol by 2030 and a billion gallon per year biodiesel target by 2012 with cellulose-to-ethanol technology introduced in 2012 and also delayed until 2015. Results suggest water demands and quality will vary regionally with cellulosic feedstock production. Policy emphasis on reduced and no-till practices needs to be complementary to increased crop residue use.
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