Can Dispersed Biomass Processing Protect the Environment and Cover the Bottom Line for Biofuel?
This paper compares environmental and profitability outcomes for a centralized biorefinery for cellulosic ethanol that does all processing versus a biorefinery linked to a decentralized array of local depots that pretreat biomass into concentrated briquettes. The analysis uses a spatial bioeconomic model that maximizes predicted profit from crop and energy products, subject to the requirement that the biorefinery must be operated at full capacity. The model draws upon biophysical crop input-output coefficients simulated with the EPIC model, as well as input and output prices, spatial transportation costs, ethanol yields from biomass, and biorefinery capital and operational costs. The model was applied to 82 cropping systems simulated across 37 sub-watersheds in a 9-county region of southern Michigan in response to ethanol prices simulated to rise from $1.78 to $3.36 per gallon. Results show that the decentralized local biomass processing depots lead to lower profitability but better environmental performance, due to more reliance on perennial grasses than the centralized biorefinery. Simulated technological improvement that reduces the processing cost and increases the ethanol yield of switchgrass by 17% could cause a shift to more processing of switchgrass, with increased profitability and environmental benefits.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture, 446 West Circle Dr., Rm 202, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039|
Phone: (517) 355-4563
Fax: (517) 432-1800
Web page: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jones, C. A. & Dyke, P. T. & Williams, J. R. & Kiniry, J. R. & Benson, V. W. & Griggs, R. H., 1991. "EPIC: An operational model for evaluation of agricultural sustainability," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 341-350.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:119348. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.