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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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Scenarios for actual and potential ethanol consumption.The figure shows ethanol consumption results for all years from three modeled scenarios: a No Policy case (i.e., no incentives), a Higher Market and Infrastructure Incentive case, and a Lower Market and Infrastructure Incentive case. For comparison, results for maximum potential consumption ethanol consumption with a particular vehicle scenario are also shown (Maximum Potential Consumption under Vehicle Base Case); the vehicle scenario is based on the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook[20]. An external dataset, not representing model results, is also shown for comparison: the EISA Legislated Total Renewable Fuel Requirement, which shows the goals of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for renewable fuel (not necessarily ethanol). The figure illustrates that model results suggest that reaching EISA targets would require considerable incentives.
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pone-0035082-g004: Scenarios for actual and potential ethanol consumption.The figure shows ethanol consumption results for all years from three modeled scenarios: a No Policy case (i.e., no incentives), a Higher Market and Infrastructure Incentive case, and a Lower Market and Infrastructure Incentive case. For comparison, results for maximum potential consumption ethanol consumption with a particular vehicle scenario are also shown (Maximum Potential Consumption under Vehicle Base Case); the vehicle scenario is based on the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook[20]. An external dataset, not representing model results, is also shown for comparison: the EISA Legislated Total Renewable Fuel Requirement, which shows the goals of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for renewable fuel (not necessarily ethanol). The figure illustrates that model results suggest that reaching EISA targets would require considerable incentives.

Mentions: The results displayed in Figure 4 show simulated actual ethanol consumption from several modeled cases: a “No Policy” case without incentives (not even current incentives), a “Higher Market and Infrastructure” case with higher levels of incentives, both on a per-gallon basis and for infrastructure investments, and a “Lower Market and Infrastructure” case with lower levels for these incentives. Incentive levels for these cases are shown in Table 3. Note that none of these cases is intended to represent continuation of current policy. We recognize that the levels of policy intervention explored in some of these cases are significant; this paper does not advocate adoption of these particular policies, nor do we assert that the results presented here are accurate projections of the cost and effect of these policies. Instead, we intend to explore the behavior of the system as modeled, seeking insights on system behavior, not to predict specific numerical results.


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)

Scenarios for actual and potential ethanol consumption.The figure shows ethanol consumption results for all years from three modeled scenarios: a No Policy case (i.e., no incentives), a Higher Market and Infrastructure Incentive case, and a Lower Market and Infrastructure Incentive case. For comparison, results for maximum potential consumption ethanol consumption with a particular vehicle scenario are also shown (Maximum Potential Consumption under Vehicle Base Case); the vehicle scenario is based on the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook[20]. An external dataset, not representing model results, is also shown for comparison: the EISA Legislated Total Renewable Fuel Requirement, which shows the goals of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for renewable fuel (not necessarily ethanol). The figure illustrates that model results suggest that reaching EISA targets would require considerable incentives.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0035082-g004: Scenarios for actual and potential ethanol consumption.The figure shows ethanol consumption results for all years from three modeled scenarios: a No Policy case (i.e., no incentives), a Higher Market and Infrastructure Incentive case, and a Lower Market and Infrastructure Incentive case. For comparison, results for maximum potential consumption ethanol consumption with a particular vehicle scenario are also shown (Maximum Potential Consumption under Vehicle Base Case); the vehicle scenario is based on the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook[20]. An external dataset, not representing model results, is also shown for comparison: the EISA Legislated Total Renewable Fuel Requirement, which shows the goals of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for renewable fuel (not necessarily ethanol). The figure illustrates that model results suggest that reaching EISA targets would require considerable incentives.
Mentions: The results displayed in Figure 4 show simulated actual ethanol consumption from several modeled cases: a “No Policy” case without incentives (not even current incentives), a “Higher Market and Infrastructure” case with higher levels of incentives, both on a per-gallon basis and for infrastructure investments, and a “Lower Market and Infrastructure” case with lower levels for these incentives. Incentive levels for these cases are shown in Table 3. Note that none of these cases is intended to represent continuation of current policy. We recognize that the levels of policy intervention explored in some of these cases are significant; this paper does not advocate adoption of these particular policies, nor do we assert that the results presented here are accurate projections of the cost and effect of these policies. Instead, we intend to explore the behavior of the system as modeled, seeking insights on system behavior, not to predict specific numerical results.

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