The Biomass Site Assessment Model - BioSAT
The 20th century was marked by rapid growth and increased prosperity in the world. By 2020, the world’s energy consumption is predicted to be 40% higher than it is today, even in the presence of the global 2008/2009 economic recession (Energy Information Administration 2009). Key sources of oil for U.S. markets are located in complex geopolitical environments that increase risk to the U.S. economy.1 Since the 1970s, macroeconomists have viewed changes in the price of oil as an important source of economic fluctuations, as well as a paradigm for global shock, likely to affect many economies simultaneously (Blanchard and Gali 2007). There has been a renewed interest in bioenergy and biofuels given the rapid rise in nominal prices of oil which peaked at $147.27 per barrel on July 11, 2008. Even though nominal oil prices had a declining trend from July, 2008 through 2010, oil prices trended upward in 2011 to a high of $119.42 per barrel on April 15, 2011. This instability of oil prices and the associated negative economic consequences has created a renewed interest in bioenergy and biofuels. However, there are a plethora of research questions concerning the use of cellulosic feedstocks for energy and fuels. As Elbehri (2007) noted replacing petroleum products with bio-based fuels and energy presents several technical, economic, and research challenges, one of which is the availability of biomass feedstock. Elbehri (2007) also noted that lack of biomass production capacity, high relative costs of production, logistics, and transportation of feedstocks, are all potential constraints that need to be better understood.