Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Renewable energy has an environmental benefit over many other energy sources used today, but the short-term economics have not been competitive, leaving them to fall behind fossil fuels. Biomass has been a prominent fuel source and has continued to grow as a need for alternative energy increases. Biomass can be used in a solid form, such as pellets, chips and sawdust, or in the liquid or gaseous state such as ethanol and biofuels. Scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders have supported biofuels because they are considered to be a carbon neutral energy source. Studies have found varying results on the carbon neutrality of biomass, but have determined an error in the greenhouse gas emissions accounting. There needs to be a universal greenhouse gas accounting method in order to ensure all greenhouse gas emissions are considered when determining whether biomass is carbon neutral. The northeast has one of the largest available forests for biomass production, specifically in Maine. However, the forests need to be harvested sustainably by following Best Management Practices and Certification systems. This will allow for the forests to meet the energy demand, while also protecting the health of the forest. Bates has considered using a biomass boiler system in order to decrease their reliance on natural gas and oil, and to help reach their goal of carbon neutrality by 2020. In order to reach their goal, they must inquire the biomass from a certified forester and account for all greenhouse gas emissions to ensure they are being carbon neutral.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

John Smedley

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.