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From field to biorefinery: Computer model optimizes biofuel operations
Date:1/17/2012

costs somewhere else," Ting said. For example, while on-farm storage can reduce the total expense of harvesting, storing and getting material to the biorefinery, it will increase the farmer's share of the overall cost.

BioFeed allows policymakers, growers, investors, biorefinery owners, researchers and other interested parties to learn from simulations without having to actually build the system first, the researchers said.

"There are so many factors to consider, so many ways to operate, so many scenarios, so many potential policy changes," Ting said. "That's why the optimization tool itself is so important."

"BioFeed is optimizing as if you have control of everything, as if you own everything," Ting said. Individual stakeholders within the system such as farmers or those building new bio-refineries will want to maximize their own profits, however. This drives up the cost of the whole system, "but it also makes everybody more willing to participate," he said.

To study this, the researchers are building another model that considers how farmers and other stakeholders are likely to behave given various economic and regulatory factors. This "agent-based" approach is described in a paper in BioEnergy Research.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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