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Title Economic sustainability modeling provides decision support for assessing hybrid poplar-based biofuel development in California
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Biofuels are expected to play a major role in meeting California's long-term energy needs, but many factors influence the commercial viability of the various feedstock and production technology options. We developed a spatially explicit analytic framework that integrates models of plant growth, crop adoption, feedstock location, transportation logistics, economic impact, biorefinery costs and biorefinery energy use and emissions. We used this framework to assess the economic potential of hybrid poplar as a feedstock for jet fuel production in Northern California. Results suggest that the region has sufficient suitable croplands (2.3 million acres) and nonarable lands (1.5 million acres) for poplar cultivation to produce as much as 2.26 billion gallons of jet fuel annually. However, there are major obstacles to such large-scale production, including, on nonarable lands, low poplar yields and broad spatial distribution and, on croplands, competition with existing crops. We estimated the production cost of jet fuel to be $4.40 to $5.40 per gallon for poplar biomass grown on nonarable lands and $3.60 to $4.50 per gallon for biomass grown on irrigated cropland; the current market price is $2.12 per gallon. Improved poplar yields, use of supplementary feedstocks at the biorefinery and economic supports such as carbon credits could help to overcome these barriers.

Bandaru, Varaprasad : V. Bandaru is Project Scientist in the UC Davis Energy Institute
Parker, Nathan C. : N.C. Parker is Postdoctoral Researcher in the UC Davis Energy Institute
Hart, Quinn : Q. Hart is Programmer in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis
Jenner, Mark

Yeo, Boon-Ling : B.L. Yeo is Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis
Crawford, Jordan T. : J.T. Crawford is Graduate Research Assistant in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at University of Washington
Li, Yuanzhe : Y. Li is Graduate Student Researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis
Tittmann Dr, Peter

Forestry, Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Industrial Ecology, Bioenergy
Rogers, Luke : L. Rogers is Research Scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at University of Washington
Kaffka, Stephen
Assistant CE Agronomist VI & Lecturer   WOS
Works on sugar beets and safflower, particularly ways to improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of producting these crops. Also works on water quality and agricultural drainage and salinity management.
Jenkins, Bryan M
Energy systems in agriculture; biomass fuel production, thermal conversion, and environmental impacts; combustion and gasification of biomass fuels; properties of fuels; system models.
Publication Date Jul 1, 2015
Date Added Oct 12, 2015
Copyright © The Regents of the University of California
Copyright Year 2015

Higher biomass yields and policy measures such as carbon credits are needed for biofuel production to become an economically viable industry in Northern California.

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