Models and Applications

Microalgae Water Use and Costs

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A key advantage of using microalgae for biofuel production is the ability of some algal strains to thrive in waters unsuitable for conventional crop irrigation such as saline groundwater or seawater. Nonetheless, the availability of sustainable water supplies will provide significant challenges for scale-up and development of algal biofuels. We conduct a partial techno-economic assessment based on the availability of freshwater, saline groundwater, and seawater for use in open pond algae cultivation systems.

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Andre Coleman
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Impact of Biofuel Industry Expansion on Grain Utilization and Distribution: Preliminary Results of Iowa Grain and Biofuel Survey

This paper examines the impact of biofuel expansion on grain utilization and distribution at the state and cropping district level as most of grain producers and handlers are directly influenced by the local changes. We conducted a survey to understand the utilization and flows of corn, ethanol and its co-products, such as dried distillers grains (DDG) in Iowa. Results suggest that the rapidly expanding ethanol industry has a significant impact on corn utilization in Iowa.


Modeling Biofuels Expansion in a Changing Global Environment

This paper examines the impact of declining energy prices on biofuels production and use and its implications to agricultural commodity markets. It uses PEATSim, a dynamic partial equilibrium, multi-commodity, multi-country global trade model of the agriculture sector to analyze the interaction between biofuel, crop and livestock sectors. The ability of countries to achieve their energy goals will be affected by future direction of petroleum prices.


Location and Spatial Pricing in Agricultural Markets

Agricultural markets often feature significant transport costs and spatially distributed production and processing which causes spatial imperfect competition. Spatial economics considers the firms’ decisions regarding location and spatial price strategy separately, usually on the demand side, and under restrictive assumptions. Therefore, alternative approaches are needed to explain, e.g., the location of new ethanol plants in the U.S. at peripheral as well as at central locations and the observation of different spatial price strategies in the market.


A Spatial Equilibrium Model of the Impact of Bio-Fuels Energy Policy on Grain Transportation Flows

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.


The Effect of Ethanol Production on the U.S. National Corn Price

A system of equations representing corn supply, feed demand, export demand, food, alcohol and industrial (FAI) demand, and corn price is estimated by three-stage least squares. A price dependent reduced form equation is then formed to investigate the effect of ethanol production on the national average corn price. The elasticity of corn price with respect to ethanol production is then obtained. Results suggest that ethanol production has a positive impact on the national corn price and that the demand from FAI has a greater impact on the corn price than other demand categories.


Spatial Marketing Patterns for Corn Under the Condition of Increasing Ethanol Production in the U.S.

Events external to agriculture have set in motion the conditions for structural change in the marketing of corn in the U.S. These included a rapid increase in the price of crude oil from $40 per barrel to over $100 caused by hurricanes, geopolitical events, an increased global demand for energy from countries like China and India, and in December 2007, the U.S. raising the renewable fuel standards. The results of this research show that there could be significant changes in the historical utilization and marketing of corn in the U.S.


Choice of optimum feedstock portfolio for a cellulosic ethanol plant – A dynamic linear programming solution

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.



The United States shares with many other countries the goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change “to achieve . . . stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”1 The critical role of new technologies in achieving this goal is underscored by the fact that most anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted over the next century will come from equipment and infrastructure that has not yet been built.

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International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT): Model Description

IMPACT – the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade – was developed at IFPRI at the beginning of the 1990s, upon the realization that there was a lack of long-term vision and consensus among policy makers and researchers about the actions that are necessary to feed the world in the future, reduce poverty, and protect the natural resource base. In 1993, these same long-term global concerns launched the 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture and the Environment Initiative.

Rosegrant, Mark W.