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2015-10-09 | project

Economic and Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy in China: Implications for Land Use, Food Prices, and Policies

In this project we will investigate the effects of large-scale bioenergy production on land use, crop production, farm income, and for the environment over a 20-year horizon in China.

The specific objectives are to (a) determine county-specific yields, costs of production, and greenhouse gas mitigation effects of each type of cellulosic feedstock; (b) examine the economically viable supply of cellulosic biomass at various biomass prices and the mix of cellulosic biomass that will be produced at these prices; and (c) examine the optimal allocation of existing cropland for crop production, mix of cellulosic biomass that should be produced, and spatial pattern of land use to meet specified levels of bioenergy production.

These objectives will be achieved by developing a multi-market, multi-period, price-endogenous, nonlinear mathematical programming model that integrates the agricultural and electricity sectors in China and incorporates international trade in agricultural commodities with the rest of the world. The agricultural sector of the simulation model will include markets for primary and processed crop commodities, livestock products, and cellulosic biomass consisting of crop and forest residues for bioenergy production. The electricity sector will consider markets for coal, cellulosic biomass and other energy sources including solar PV, wind, nuclear, and hydropower. The model will include a transshipment component to identify the optimal regional production of cellulosic biomass and optimal transportation patterns from farm gates to coal-fired power plants. This model will be implemented using a comprehensive dataset of commodity demands and flows on the location of existing road and rail networks as well as coal-fired power plants.

The framework proposed here will be used to analyze the impacts of a range of public policies, including bioenergy production targets, bioenergy production subsidies, and carbon payments. Results will provide policy makers and analysts with a scientific basis about economic and environmental impacts of these policies.