Solar Biomass Energy: An Overview of U.S. Potential

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Science  10 Mar 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4333, pp. 1041-1048
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4333.1041


The U.S. annual biomass production for food, lumber, paper, and fiber, if used exclusively for energy, would provide 25 percent of current energy requirements. The collection of unharvested wood residues and cull trees for direct use as fuel for small nearby space-heating applications—especially for peak winter conditions—is an important near-term solar energy opportunity. Improved management of hundreds of millions of acres of productive forest land is an important opportunity for the long term. Harvest of cropland residues for energy values, new biomass production using intensive short-rotation silviculture, resubstitution of natural products for petroleum-based synthetics, and forest management for large-scale production of electricity and synthetic fuels are judged to be less appropriate directions for the U.S. energy system to take.