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system dynamics

Vimmerstedt, L. J., Bush, B. W., Hsu, D. D., Inman, D. and Peterson, S. O. (2014), Maturation of biomass-to-biofuels conversion technology pathways for rapid expansion of biofuels production: a system dynamics perspective. Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref.. doi: 10.1002/bbb.1515
 
 
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Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Author
NREL

Understanding the development of the biofuels industry in the United States is important to policymakers and industry. The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a system dynamics model of the biomass-to-biofuels system that can be used to explore policy effects on biofuels development. Because of the complexity of the model, as well as the wide range of possible future conditions that affect biofuels industry development, we have not developed a single reference case but instead developed a set of specific scenarios that provide various contexts for our analyses. The purpose of this report is to describe the scenarios that comprise the BSM scenario library. At present, we have the following policy-focused scenarios in our library: minimal policies, ethanol-focused policies, equal access to policies, output-focused policies, technological diversity focused, and the point-of-production- focused. This report describes each scenario, its policy settings, and general insights gained through use of the scenarios in analytic studies.

Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Author
Inman, D.; Vimmerstedt, L.; Bush, B.; Peterson, S.
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance. Actions of private investors and public programs can accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new conversion technology pathways. These investors (both private and public) will pursue a range of pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scale biorefinery investments; the most cost-effective set of investments for advancing the maturity of any given biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathway is unknown. In some cases, whether or not the pathway itself will ultimately be technically and financially successful is also unknown. This report presents results from the Biomass Scenario Model—a system dynamics model of the biomass to biofuels system—that estimate effects of investments in biorefineries at different maturity levels and operational scales. The report discusses challenges in estimating effects of such investments and explores the interaction between this deployment investment and a volumetric production incentive. Model results show that investments in demonstration and deployment have a substantial growth impact on the development of the biofuels industry. Results also show that other conditions, such as accompanying incentives, have major impacts on the effectiveness of such investments. This report does not advocate for or against investments, incentives, or policies, but analyzes simulations of their effects.

Vimmerstedt, L. and Bush, B. "Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry." Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (December). NREL/TP-6A20-60802

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Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Author
Laura J. Vimmerstedt , Brian W. Bush
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Biomass Scenario Model Zotero References
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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. Meeting mandated volumetric targets has prompted substantial funding for biofuels research, much of it focused on producing ethanol and other fuel types from biomass feedstocks. A variety of incentive programs (including subsidies, fixed capital investment grants, loan guarantees, vehicle choice credits, and aggressive corporate average fuel economy standards)have been developed, but their short-and long-term ramifications are not well known. This paper describes the Biomass Scenario Model, a system dynamics model developed under the support of the U.S. Department of Energy as the result of a multi-year project at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The model represents multiple pathways leading to the production of fuel ethanol as well as advanced biofuels such as biomass-based gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and butanol). This paper details the BSM system dynamics architecture, the design of the supporting database infrastructure, the associated scenario libraries used in model runs, as well as key insights resulting from BSM simulations and analyses.

Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Biomass Scenario Model: Supplemental Tableau workbook for Christopher M Clark et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 025016 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/025016 Growing a sustainable biofuels industry: economics, environmental considerations, and the role of the Conservation Reserve Program

To explore this file download Tableau reader: http://www.tableausoftware.com/products/reader

Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category

Increasing demand for crop-based biofuels, in addition to other human drivers of land use, induces direct and indirect land use changes (LUC). Our system dynamics tool is intended to complement existing LUC modeling approaches and to improve the understanding of global LUC drivers and dynamics by allowing examination of global LUC under diverse scenarios and varying model assumptions. We report on a small subset of such analyses. This model provides insights into the drivers and dynamic interactions of LUC (e.g., dietary choices and biofuel policy) and is not intended to assert improvement in numerical results relative to other works.
 
Demand for food commodities are mostly met in high food and high crop-based biofuel demand scenarios, but cropland must expand substantially. Meeting roughly 25% of global transportation fuel demand by 2050 with biofuels requires >2 times the land used to meet food demands under a presumed 40% increase in per capita food demand. In comparison, the high food demand scenario requires greater pastureland for meat production, leading to larger overall expansion into forest and grassland. Our results indicate that, in all scenarios, there is a potential for supply shortfalls, and associated upward pressure on prices, of food commodities requiring higher land use intensity (e.g., beef) which biofuels could exacerbate.

Lab
Bioenergy Category

This paper describes the current Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) as of August 2013, a system dynamics model developed under the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The model is the result of a multi-year project at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It is a tool designed to better understand biofuels policy as it impacts the development of the supply chain for biofuels in the United States. In its current form, the model represents multiple pathways leading to the production of fuel ethanol as well as advanced biofuels such as biomass-based gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and butanol).

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Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Author
Peterson, Steve
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