Regional Comparative Advantage for Woody Biofuels Production
The economic availability of woody biomass for the southeastern United States is summarized in this final report for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southeastern Sun Grant Center research contract R11-0515-016 as administered by the University of Tennessee. Georeferenced economic supply curves (marginal cost curves) for woody biomass producers’ for the 13 southern states are developed using the BioSAT Model (Biomass Site Assessment Tool, www.biosat.net).1 The overall goal of the research was to improve the understanding of costs for mill and logging residues that make-up the woody biomass supply chain, an essential first-step for market organization of this emerging industry. The project had three objectives that were aggregated to provide spatially explicit economic data for potential producers of bioenergy and biofuels: 1) use the SubRegional Timber Supply (SRTS) model with USDA Forest Service inventory data in an economic supply and demand framework to project timber inventory, supply, and price into the future for estimating logging residues; 2) develop a cost model for mill residues; and 3) develop a trucking transportation cost model for biomass. The three objectives of the research study were met which led to regional comparisons of the economic supply of woody biomass for the southeastern U.S. and identification of least cost bio-basins.