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Ethanol from Biomass: Economic and Environmental Potential of Converting Corn Stover and Hardwood Forest Residue in Minnesota


  • Petrolia, Daniel R.


Research was undertaken to determine the economic feasibility and environmental impact of harvesting corn stover and hardwood forest residue in Minnesota and surrounding states for conversion to fuel ethanol at facilities located in Minnesota. It was estimated that only 7 of the total 41 million dry tons of corn stover produced and 3 of the 6.5 million dry tons of hardwood residue produced in the study region would likely be harvested each year. From these quantities, it would be physically feasible to produce about 874 million gallons of ethanol annually. It was estimated that 200 million gallons could be harvested at a delivered feedstock cost below $40 per ton. Results indicate further that ethanol derived from corn stover would be cost competitive with corn-grain ethanol, and that hardwood residue-derived ethanol would be about $0.16 per-gallon higher than the upper-bound cost for corn-grain ethanol. Furthermore, this work indicates that large-scale substitution of petroleum gasoline with biomass-derived ethanol would have huge impacts with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although SOx emissions would increase.

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  • Petrolia, Daniel R., 2006. "Ethanol from Biomass: Economic and Environmental Potential of Converting Corn Stover and Hardwood Forest Residue in Minnesota," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21422, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea06:21422

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    1. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2006. "The Economics of Harvesting and Transporting Hardwood Forest Residue for Conversion to Fuel Ethanol: A Case Study for Minnesota," Staff Papers 14020, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    2. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2006. "The Economics of Harvesting and Transporting Corn Stover for Conversion to Fuel Ethanol: A Case Study for Minnesota," Staff Papers 14213, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Popp, Michael P. & Hogan, Robert J., Jr., 2007. "Assessment of two alternative switchgrass harvest and transport methods," Biofuels, Food and Feed Tradeoffs, Biofuels, Food and Feed Tradeoffs Conference, April 12-13, 2007, St, Louis, Missouri 48774, Farm Foundation.
    2. Krah, Kwabena & Petrolia, Daniel & Coble, Keith & Williams, Angelica & Harri, Ardian, 2015. "Producer Preferences for Contracts on a Risky Bioenergy Crop," 2015 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia 196994, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Carriquiry, Miguel A. & Du, Xiaodong & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2011. "Second generation biofuels: Economics and policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4222-4234, July.
    4. Pratt, Michelle R. & Tyner, Wallace E. & Muth, David J. & Kladivko, Eileen J., 2014. "Synergies between cover crops and corn stover removal," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 67-76.

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