We developed a mathematical programming model to estimate the supply of cellulosic biomass in Illinois at various biomass prices and examine the implications of biomass production for the maintenance costs of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). We find that Illinois has the potential to produce about 38.4–54.5 million dry metric tons (MT) of biomass in 2020 at a biomass price of $150/MT, depending on the production costs of cellulosic feedstocks, residue collection technology, and rates of yield increases of conventional crops. Corn stover will account for more than 65% of the total biomass production across biomass prices and the scenarios considered, while the roles of wheat straw and energy crops are quite limited. Given biomass prices of $50/MT-$150/MT, many landowners would convert their expiring CRP lands to croplands. To maintain the size of the CRP during the 2007–2020 period at the 2007 levels in Illinois, total program maintenance costs would be $104.6–176.5 million at a biomass price of $50/MT, depending on biomass production conditions and crop yields on CRP lands. This would increase to $155.2–245.4 million at a biomass price of $150/MT.
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