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Ethanol distribution, dispensing, and use: analysis of a portion of the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain using system dynamics.

Vimmerstedt LJ, Bush B, Peterson S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Biomass Scenario Model, a system dynamics model which represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain.A large, economically sustainable ethanol fuel market (or other biofuel market) requires low end-user fuel price relative to gasoline and sufficient producer payment, which are difficult to achieve simultaneously.Other requirements (different for ethanol vs. other biofuel markets) include the need for infrastructure for distribution and dispensing and widespread use of high ethanol blends in flexible-fuel vehicles.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Strategic Energy Analysis Center, Golden, Colorado, United States of America. laura.vimmerstedt@nrel.gov

ABSTRACT
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 targets use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2022. Achieving this may require substantial changes to current transportation fuel systems for distribution, dispensing, and use in vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory designed a system dynamics approach to help focus government action by determining what supply chain changes would have the greatest potential to accelerate biofuels deployment. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Biomass Scenario Model, a system dynamics model which represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain. The model provides a framework for developing scenarios and conducting biofuels policy analysis. This paper focuses on the downstream portion of the supply chain-represented in the distribution logistics, dispensing station, and fuel utilization, and vehicle modules of the Biomass Scenario Model. This model initially focused on ethanol, but has since been expanded to include other biofuels. Some portions of this system are represented dynamically with major interactions and feedbacks, especially those related to a dispensing station owner's decision whether to offer ethanol fuel and a consumer's choice whether to purchase that fuel. Other portions of the system are modeled with little or no dynamics; the vehicle choices of consumers are represented as discrete scenarios. This paper explores conditions needed to sustain an ethanol fuel market and identifies implications of these findings for program and policy goals. A large, economically sustainable ethanol fuel market (or other biofuel market) requires low end-user fuel price relative to gasoline and sufficient producer payment, which are difficult to achieve simultaneously. Other requirements (different for ethanol vs. other biofuel markets) include the need for infrastructure for distribution and dispensing and widespread use of high ethanol blends in flexible-fuel vehicles.

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Overview of Biomass Scenario Model.The figure shows the overall purpose and content of the Biomass Scenario Model.
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pone-0035082-g001: Overview of Biomass Scenario Model.The figure shows the overall purpose and content of the Biomass Scenario Model.

Mentions: To analyze such challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed a system dynamics modeling approach that represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain [9], [10]. For purposes of this analysis, the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain is discussed at the overall industry level and with a focus on development and evolution of a supply chain for a developing industry. This is not to be confused with the day-to-day management of the existing supply chain of an individual firm working with other individual firms. In this context, the dynamics in question relate to the development of entire sectors of the industry on a year-to-year timescale (e.g. how long does it take production capacity to develop), not to supply chain management dynamics of individual firms that play out over weeks, days, or even hours (e.g. how long does it take this part to be shipped). This approach was designed to support biofuels policy analysis by determining what supply chain changes have the greatest potential to accelerate the deployment of biofuels (see Figure 1). In this paper, we address the “downstream” portion of the supply chain, including the distribution logistics, dispensing station, fuel utilization, and vehicle portions of the chain. The DOE-sponsored system dynamics model of the biofuels supply chain–the Biomass Scenario Model–represents major interactions and feedbacks related to a dispensing station owner’s decision to offer ethanol fuel, with distribution options and vehicle choice represented as discrete scenarios.


Ethanol distribution, dispensing, and use: analysis of a portion of the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain using system dynamics.

Vimmerstedt LJ, Bush B, Peterson S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Overview of Biomass Scenario Model.The figure shows the overall purpose and content of the Biomass Scenario Model.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351488&req=5

pone-0035082-g001: Overview of Biomass Scenario Model.The figure shows the overall purpose and content of the Biomass Scenario Model.
Mentions: To analyze such challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed a system dynamics modeling approach that represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain [9], [10]. For purposes of this analysis, the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain is discussed at the overall industry level and with a focus on development and evolution of a supply chain for a developing industry. This is not to be confused with the day-to-day management of the existing supply chain of an individual firm working with other individual firms. In this context, the dynamics in question relate to the development of entire sectors of the industry on a year-to-year timescale (e.g. how long does it take production capacity to develop), not to supply chain management dynamics of individual firms that play out over weeks, days, or even hours (e.g. how long does it take this part to be shipped). This approach was designed to support biofuels policy analysis by determining what supply chain changes have the greatest potential to accelerate the deployment of biofuels (see Figure 1). In this paper, we address the “downstream” portion of the supply chain, including the distribution logistics, dispensing station, fuel utilization, and vehicle portions of the chain. The DOE-sponsored system dynamics model of the biofuels supply chain–the Biomass Scenario Model–represents major interactions and feedbacks related to a dispensing station owner’s decision to offer ethanol fuel, with distribution options and vehicle choice represented as discrete scenarios.

Bottom Line: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Biomass Scenario Model, a system dynamics model which represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain.A large, economically sustainable ethanol fuel market (or other biofuel market) requires low end-user fuel price relative to gasoline and sufficient producer payment, which are difficult to achieve simultaneously.Other requirements (different for ethanol vs. other biofuel markets) include the need for infrastructure for distribution and dispensing and widespread use of high ethanol blends in flexible-fuel vehicles.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Strategic Energy Analysis Center, Golden, Colorado, United States of America. laura.vimmerstedt@nrel.gov

ABSTRACT
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 targets use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels per year by 2022. Achieving this may require substantial changes to current transportation fuel systems for distribution, dispensing, and use in vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory designed a system dynamics approach to help focus government action by determining what supply chain changes would have the greatest potential to accelerate biofuels deployment. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Biomass Scenario Model, a system dynamics model which represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-biofuels supply chain. The model provides a framework for developing scenarios and conducting biofuels policy analysis. This paper focuses on the downstream portion of the supply chain-represented in the distribution logistics, dispensing station, and fuel utilization, and vehicle modules of the Biomass Scenario Model. This model initially focused on ethanol, but has since been expanded to include other biofuels. Some portions of this system are represented dynamically with major interactions and feedbacks, especially those related to a dispensing station owner's decision whether to offer ethanol fuel and a consumer's choice whether to purchase that fuel. Other portions of the system are modeled with little or no dynamics; the vehicle choices of consumers are represented as discrete scenarios. This paper explores conditions needed to sustain an ethanol fuel market and identifies implications of these findings for program and policy goals. A large, economically sustainable ethanol fuel market (or other biofuel market) requires low end-user fuel price relative to gasoline and sufficient producer payment, which are difficult to achieve simultaneously. Other requirements (different for ethanol vs. other biofuel markets) include the need for infrastructure for distribution and dispensing and widespread use of high ethanol blends in flexible-fuel vehicles.

Show MeSH