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Biofuels are promoted in the United States through aggressive legislation, as one part of an overall strategy to lessen dependence on imported energy as well as to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (Office of the Biomass Program and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2008). For example, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandates 36 billion gallons of renewable liquid transportation fuel in the U.S. marketplace by the year 2022 (U.S. Government, 2007).

Emily Newes, Daniel Inman, Brian Bush

We quantify the emergence of biofuel markets and its impact on U.S. and world agriculture for the coming decade using the multi-market, multi-commodity international FAPRI (Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute) model. The model incorporates the trade-offs between biofuel, feed, and food production and consumption and international feedback effects of the emergence through world commodity prices and trade.

Fabiosa,Jacinto F.

This report discusses the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimates for the production of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) derived fuels (in particular, FT diesel), makes comparisons of these estimates to reported literature values for petroleum-derived diesel, and outlines strategies for substantially reducing these emissions.

Marano, John J.

Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute. It can be made from a variety of natural oils and fats. Biodiesel is made by chemically combining any natural oil or fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol. Methanol has been the most commonly used alcohol in the commercial production of biodiesel. In Europe, biodiesel is widely available in both its neat form (100% biodiesel, also know as B100) and in blends with petroleum diesel. European biodiesel is made predominantly from rapeseed oil (a cousin of canola oil).

Sheehan, J.

Despite a rapid worldwide expansion of the biofuel industry, there is a lack of consensus within the scientific community about the potential of biofuels to reduce reliance on petroleum and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although life cycle assessment provides a means to quantify these potential benefits and environmental impacts, existing methods limit direct comparison within and between different biofuel systems because of inconsistencies in performance metrics, system boundaries, and underlying parameter values.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is promoting the development of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks as an alternative to conventional petroleum-based transportation fuels. DOE funds both fundamental and applied research in this area and needs a method for predicting cost benefits of many research proposals. To that end, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has modeled many potential process designs and estimated the economics of each process during the last 20 years. This report is an update of the ongoing process design and economic analyses at NREL.

Aden, A.

A new addition to the growing biofuels resources list at AgMRC is a cellulosic ethanol feasibility template developed by agricultural economists at Oklahoma State University (OSU). The purpose of the spreadsheet-based template is to give users the opportunity to assess the economics of a commercial-scale plant using enzymatic hydrolysis methods to process cellulosic materials into ethanol. The OSU Cellulosic Ethanol Feasibility Template can be downloaded and modified by the user to mimic the basic operating parameters of a proposed ethanol plant under a variety of production conditions.

Rodney Holcomb

This paper examines the possibilities of breaking into the cellulosic ethanol market in south Louisiana via strategic feedstock choices and the leveraging of the area’s competitive advantages. A small plant strategy is devised whereby the first-mover problem might be solved, and several scenarios are tested using Net Present Value analysis.

Darby, Paul

Traffic flows in the U.S. have been affected by the substantial increase and, as of January 2009, decrease in biofuel production and use. This paper considers a framework to study the effect on grain transportation flows of the 2005 Energy Act and subsequent legislation, which mandated higher production levels of biofuels, e.g. ethanol and biodiesels. Future research will incorporate changes due to the recent economic slowdown.

Ahmedov, Zarabek

This paper introduces a spatial bioeconomic model for study of potential cellulosic biomass supply at regional scale. By modeling the profitability of alternative crop production practices, it captures the opportunity cost of replacing current crops by cellulosic biomass crops. The model draws upon biophysical crop input-output coefficients, price and cost data, and spatial transportation costs in the context of profit maximization theory. Yields are simulated using temperature, precipitation and soil quality data with various commercial crops and potential new cellulosic biomass crops.

Egbendewe-Mondzozo, Aklesso

When the lignocellulosic biofuels industry reaches maturity and many types of biomass sources become economically viable, management of multiple feedstock supplies – that vary in their yields, density (tons per unit area), harvest window, storage and seasonal costs, storage losses, transport distance to the production plant – will become increasingly important for the success of individual enterprises. The manager’s feedstock procurement problem is modeled as a multi-period sequence problem to account for dynamic management over time.

Kumarappan, Subbu

Understanding the Growth of the Cellulosic Ethanol Industry, D. Sandor and R. Wallace, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, S. Peterson The Peterson Group, Technical Report, NREL/TP-150-42120 April 2008

D. Sandor and R. Wallace National Renewable Energy Laboratory, S. Peterson The Peterson Group

Ethanol production doubled in a very short period of time in the U.S. due to a combination of natural disasters, political tensions, and much more demand globally from petroleum. Responses to this expansion will span many sectors of society and the economy. As the Midwest gears up to rapidly add new ethanol manufacturing plants, the existing regional economy must accommodate the changes.

David Swenson

Search for and download detailed data on fueling stations for several different types of alternative fuels.

Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.