This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 26, 2011

The How's and Why's of Replacing the Whole Barrel

For many, a barrel of oil is almost synonymous with its most prominent product, gasoline. While almost 40% of a barrel of oil is used to produce gasoline, the rest is used to produce a host of products, including jet fuel and plastics and many industrial chemicals. As the United States works to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, we must recognize the complexity of that dependence and work to replace the whole barrel. Over the summer, DOE's Biomass Program hosted its fourth annual conference, Biomass 2011, on exactly this theme: Replace the Whole Barrel, Supply the Whole Market—the New Horizons of Bioenergy.

More than 600 speakers, exhibitors, industry leaders, researchers, decision makers, and attendees came to hear about the most current technology innovations and business developments in the field of bioenergy. This theme highlighted the primary strategy of the Biomass Program, which concentrates on research, development, demonstration, and deployment of a range of technologies to replace the entire barrel of petroleum crude and supply all segments of the national market for fuels, products, and power generation.

During his opening keynote presentation at Biomass 2011, Secretary Steven Chu remarked, "When oil prices rise, markets tend to panic; when oil prices stabilize, markets tend to hit the 'snooze button.' Oil prices will continue to increase and biofuels can help alleviate this disruptive effect." See the Energy Blog post.