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2016-11-24 | Peer Reviewed

Renewable energy policies and competition for biomass: Implications for land use, food prices, and processing industry

Chen, Xiaoguang and Hayri Önal. 2016. “Renewable energy policies and competition for biomass: Implications for land use, food prices, and processing industry.” Energy Policy. 92:May: 270-278.
Download reference Doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.02.022

We use a mathematical programming model to examine the impacts of simultaneous implementation of two US biofuel and bioenergy policies on commodity markets and spatial distribution of future cellulosic biorefineries. The key findings based on our numerical simulation are: (1) the number and average annual production capacity of cellulosic biofuel refineries depend on the total renewable fuels mandate; (2) the mix of cellulosic biomass feedstock depends on the assumptions about the production costs of energy crops and the amount of cropland that can be used for energy crops, but regardless of the assumptions crop residues are the primary biomass source to meet the demand for biomass for biofuel production and electricity generation; and (3) the biomass production areas would surround either future cellulosic biorefineries or the existing coal-based power plants to reduce the costs of biomass transportation. These findings have important implications for biorefinery investors and provide valuable policy insights for the selection of Biomass Crop Assistance Program project areas.