Biomass is a renewable resource consisting of plant matter like trees, grasses, agricultural residues, and other biological materials. Biomass is converted to bioenergy to be used as both electricity and transportation fuel.
Almost $49.1 billion is spent annually by the U.S. government to defend the flow of Persian Gulf Oil - the equivalent of adding $1.17 to the price of a gallon of gasoline.
It is clear that America's continuing reliance on imported crude oil and refined petroleum products is imposing an enormous financial burden on the nation's economy - a burden that is a threat to the nation's economic and military security.
Bio-based energy has the potential to create jobs, increase economic development, and reduce U. S. dependence on foreign sources of fuel.
BEAG uses the following models to analyze data:
- POLYSYS - a national, interregional, agricultural model
- IMPLAN - a regional input-output model
- FLARE - firm analysis of biofuel systems incorporating risk and uncertainty at the farm and conversion facility levels
- BIOFLAME - a siting model
- BeSTA - a biorefinery siting model
These models are used to estimate:
- Supply and demand for biomass
- Cost of biomass production
- Conversion costs
- Economic feasibility of bio-based energy
- Regional and national economic and environmental impacts
- Market opportunities for biomass and biofuels
These models can be supplemented with secondary source data, and are used to decipher the economic viability of a bio-based feedstock industry and its potential environmental impacts.
BEAG personnel contribute expertise in the following areas:
- Agricultural Economics
- Consumer Acceptance and Demand
- New Crop Technology
- Business Structure
- Rural and Economic Development
- Economic Analysis and Systems Approach
- Impacts of New Industry
- Conversion of Biomass Feedstocks
- Engineering Soil Chemistry
- Computer Programming
- GIS Systems
The diversity of BEAG personnel facilitates a range of integrative modeling and analysis of the bio-based industry.
A sustainable market for bio-based energy will require information from all of these areas. Decision-making will be made more efficient through the availablility of this up-to-date information.