Carbon-Negative Biofuel Production

Seungdo Kim, Xuesong Zhang, Ashwan Daram Reddy, Bruce E. Dale, Kurt D. Thelen, Curtis Dinneen Jones, Roberto Cesar Izaurralde, Troy Runge, Christos Maravelias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Achievement of the 1.5 °C limit for global temperature increase relies on the large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. In this article, we explore two CDR technologies: soil carbon sequestration (SCS), and carbon capture and storage (CCS) integrated with cellulosic biofuel production. These CDR technologies are applied as part of decentralized biorefinery systems processing corn stover and unfertilized switchgrass grown in riparian zones in the Midwestern United States. Cover crops grown on corn-producing lands are chosen from the SCS approach, and biogenic CO2 in biorefineries is captured, transported by pipeline, and injected into saline aquifers. The decentralized biorefinery system using SCS, CCS, or both can produce carbon-negative cellulosic biofuels (≤-22.2 gCO2 MJ-1). Meanwhile, biofuel selling prices increase by 15-45% due to CDR costs. Economic incentives (e.g., cover crop incentives and/or a CO2 tax credit) can mitigate price increases caused by CDR technologies. A combination of different CDR technologies in decentralized biorefinery systems is the most efficient method for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, and its total GHG mitigation potential in the Midwest is 0.16 GtCO2 year-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10797-10807
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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