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Cellulosic Biofuel Supply with Heterogeneous Biomass Suppliers: An Application to Switchgrass-based Ethanol

Author

Listed:
  • Rosburg, Alicia
  • Miranowski, John
  • Jacobs, Keri

Abstract

The potential of biomass for alternative energy production has attracted considerable attention because of associated implications for energy security, food supply, and climate change. This paper considers the economic impacts of spatial variation and landowner behavior on potential biomass supply for U.S. cellulosic biofuel. We develop and apply a long-run biomass production through bioenergy conversion cost model that incorporates heterogeneity of biomass suppliers within and between local markets. An application to U.S. switchgrass-based cellulosic ethanol production suggests cost-minimizing biofuel production decisions, which include biorefinery size, biomass transportation distance, and price of biomass, vary significantly across locations. An aggregate switchgrass ethanol supply curve developed from local biofuel supply estimates is used to evaluate the potential for and cost of achieving cellulosic biofuel production targets such as the revised Renewable Fuels Standard. Empirical results suggest spatial variation in biomass production conditions plays an important role in the potential supply and distribution of U.S. cellulosic biofuel production.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosburg, Alicia & Miranowski, John & Jacobs, Keri, 2013. "Cellulosic Biofuel Supply with Heterogeneous Biomass Suppliers: An Application to Switchgrass-based Ethanol," Staff General Research Papers Archive 36359, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:36359
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    File URL: http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/papers/p16359-2013-08-13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Miranowski, John & Rosburg, Alicia, 2010. "An Economic Breakeven Model of Cellulosic Feedstock Production and Ethanol Conversion with Implied Carbon Pricing," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13166, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Qualls, D. Joshua & Jensen, Kimberly L. & English, Burton C. & Larson, James A. & Clark, Christopher D., 2011. "Analysis of Factors Affecting Farmers’ Willingness to Adopt Switchgrass Production," 2011 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2011, Corpus Christi, Texas 98625, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
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    4. Rosburg, Alicia & Miranowski, John, 2013. "An Economic Evaluation of US Biofuel Expansion Using the Biofuel Breakeven Program with GHG Accounting," Staff General Research Papers Archive 36118, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Altman, Ira J. & Bergtold, Jason S. & Sanders, Dwight R. & Johnson, Thomas G., 2011. "Producer Willingness to Supply Biomass: the Effects of Price and Producer Characteristics," 2011 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2011, Corpus Christi, Texas 98804, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    biofuel; biomass; cellulosic ethanol; RFS2; switchgrass;

    JEL classification:

    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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