Special Report No. 07-05: The Forest Biorefinery Environmental Footprint

Interest in forest biorefinery focuses on two major technologies: the sugar platform, centered on the fractionation of woody biomass into sugar components followed by fermentation; and the thermochemical platform, which involves thermochemical conversion of wood into synthetic gases that are either burned to generate electricity and steam or further processed into other chemicals such as liquid fuels. Due to limited commercial applications of forest biorefinery technologies, there are very few data to support a quantitative assessment of associated environmental releases.