Biomass Energy: Making the Most of Waste

In April 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order proclaiming the benefits and potentials of bioenergy in helping to meet the future needs of

California for clean, renewable power, fuels, and hydrogen, and calling for actions by the state to meet targets for biofuel and biopower development.  The California Biomass Collaborative at UC Davis helped prepare a roadmap for biomass research and development.  Their roadmap includes the following goals:


Increase sustainable production and improve acquisition of biomass

Better techniques must be developed for removing biomass from the point of generation, processing it, transporting it to an end-use, and producing useful energy or commodities to drive down costs.

Increase production of biopower, heat, and cooling

Using biomass sustainably to produce energy in any of its many forms can improve

California ’s environment and economic health.

Increase production and improve environmental performance of renewable biofuels

Biomass feedstocks can be converted to liquid or gaseous transportation fuels, displacing petroleum, natural gas, and other fossil fuels.

Increase production of bio-based products

A variety of chemicals, including lubricants, adhesives, solvents, and polymers, as well as construction and other materials, can be produced from biomass.

The report was completed in November 2007, and implementation planning is now in progress.  The entire report can be found at:

The Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) at UC Davis is a newly formed coalition working to implement the California Biomass Roadmap among other projects.  The researchers come from a wide range of disciplines, including Agricultural & Resource Economics, Plant Sciences, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, Microbiology, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Viticulture & Enology, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Economics, and several more.


Next Steps: BERG seeks to advance the development of bioenergy−heat, power, and biofuels from biomass−and to that end is connecting researchers across the Davis campus to enhance communication and the sharing of ideas, and to help focus and structure the previously individual or small group efforts to more efficiently use the vast capabilities of UC Davis.