skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry. 2016 Update

Abstract

This report updates the 2013 report of the same title. Some text originally published in that report is retained and indicated in gray. In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance. Actions of private investors and public programs can accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new conversion technology pathways. These investors (both private and public) will pursue a range of pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scale biorefinery investments; the most cost-effective set of investments for advancing the maturity of any given biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathway is unknown. In some cases, whether or not the pathway itself will ultimately be technically and financially successful is also unknown. This report presents results from the Biomass Scenario Model--a system dynamics model of the biomass to biofuels system--that estimate effects of investments in biorefineries at different maturity levels and operational scales. The report discusses challengesmore » in estimating effects of such investments and explores the interaction between this deployment investment and a volumetric production incentive. Model results show that investments in demonstration and deployment have a substantial growth impact on the development of the biofuels industry. Results also show that other conditions, such as accompanying incentives, have major impacts on the effectiveness of such investments. Results from the 2013 report are compared to new results. This report does not advocate for or against investments, incentives, or policies, but analyzes simulations of their hypothetical effects.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1243372
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-6A20-65903
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; biofuels; demonstration; deployment; learning; policy; system dynamics

Citation Formats

Vimmerstedt, Laura J., Warner, Ethan S., and Stright, Dana. Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry. 2016 Update. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1243372.
Vimmerstedt, Laura J., Warner, Ethan S., & Stright, Dana. Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry. 2016 Update. United States. doi:10.2172/1243372.
Vimmerstedt, Laura J., Warner, Ethan S., and Stright, Dana. 2016. "Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry. 2016 Update". United States. doi:10.2172/1243372. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1243372.
@article{osti_1243372,
title = {Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry. 2016 Update},
author = {Vimmerstedt, Laura J. and Warner, Ethan S. and Stright, Dana},
abstractNote = {This report updates the 2013 report of the same title. Some text originally published in that report is retained and indicated in gray. In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance. Actions of private investors and public programs can accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new conversion technology pathways. These investors (both private and public) will pursue a range of pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scale biorefinery investments; the most cost-effective set of investments for advancing the maturity of any given biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathway is unknown. In some cases, whether or not the pathway itself will ultimately be technically and financially successful is also unknown. This report presents results from the Biomass Scenario Model--a system dynamics model of the biomass to biofuels system--that estimate effects of investments in biorefineries at different maturity levels and operational scales. The report discusses challenges in estimating effects of such investments and explores the interaction between this deployment investment and a volumetric production incentive. Model results show that investments in demonstration and deployment have a substantial growth impact on the development of the biofuels industry. Results also show that other conditions, such as accompanying incentives, have major impacts on the effectiveness of such investments. Results from the 2013 report are compared to new results. This report does not advocate for or against investments, incentives, or policies, but analyzes simulations of their hypothetical effects.},
doi = {10.2172/1243372},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 3
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance. Actions of private investors and public programs can accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new conversion technology pathways. These investors (both private and public) will pursue a range of pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scalemore » biorefinery investments; the most cost-effective set of investments for advancing the maturity of any given biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathway is unknown. In some cases, whether or not the pathway itself will ultimately be technically and financially successful is also unknown. This report presents results from the Biomass Scenario Model -- a system dynamics model of the biomass to biofuels system -- that estimate effects of investments in biorefineries at different maturity levels and operational scales. The report discusses challenges in estimating effects of such investments and explores the interaction between this deployment investment and a volumetric production incentive. Model results show that investments in demonstration and deployment have a substantial positive effect on the development of the biofuels industry. Results also show that other conditions, such as supportive policies, have major impacts on the effectiveness of such investments.« less
  • IIn March 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States (DOE 2015), which explores a scenario in which wind provides 10 percent of U.S. electricity in 2020, 20 percent in 2030, and 35 percent in 2050. The Wind Vision report also includes a roadmap of recommended actions aimed at pursuit of the vision and its underlying wind-deployment scenario. The roadmap was compiled by the Wind Vision project team, which included representatives from the industrial, electric-power, government-laboratory, academic, environmental-stewardship, regulatory, and permitting stakeholder groups. The roadmap describes high-level activitiesmore » suitable for all sectors with a stake in wind power and energy development. It is intended to be a 'living document,' and DOE expects to engage the wind community from time to time to track progress.« less
  • Scenarios of new vehicle technology deployment serve various purposes; some will seek to establish plausibility. This report proposes two reality checks for scenarios: (1) implications of manufacturing constraints on timing of vehicle deployment and (2) investment decisions required to bring new vehicle technologies to market. An estimated timeline of 12 to more than 22 years from initial market introduction to saturation is supported by historical examples and based on the product development process. Researchers also consider the series of investment decisions to develop and build the vehicles and their associated fueling infrastructure. A proposed decision tree analysis structure could bemore » used to systematically examine investors' decisions and the potential outcomes, including consideration of cash flow and return on investment. This method requires data or assumptions about capital cost, variable cost, revenue, timing, and probability of success/failure, and would result in a detailed consideration of the value proposition of large investments and long lead times. This is one of a series of reports produced as a result of the Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project, a Department of Energy-sponsored multi-agency effort to pinpoint underexplored strategies for abating GHGs and reducing petroleum dependence related to transportation.« less
  • Credit enhancements represent a variety of financial support structures that are designed to reduce risk to those holding the debt, including debt raised via a securitization process, and thus lower the required yield associated with the security. The purpose of all forms of credit enhancement is to increase the collateral against which notes are secured (Lin,1999). The following section evaluates is not guaranteed. Perceived risks of the solar asset class--including those related to technology, offtaker creditworthiness, and regulatory policy--can increase the required yield, increase probability of investor loss of interest and/or principal, or both. In many cases, this is amore » cyclical phenomenon: risk perception is fed by lack of historical knowledge, which is in turn fed by risk perception. Therefore, successful access to capital market investment in order to spur low-cost solar deployment depends on the success of this initial fledgling period.« less
  • Scenarios of new vehicle technology deployment serve various purposes; some will seek to establish plausibility. This report proposes two reality checks for scenarios: (1) implications of manufacturing constraints on timing of vehicle deployment and (2) investment decisions required to bring new vehicle technologies to market. An estimated timeline of 12 to more than 22 years from initial market introduction to saturation is supported by historical examples and based on the product development process. Researchers also consider the series of investment decisions to develop and build the vehicles and their associated fueling infrastructure. A proposed decision tree analysis structure could bemore » used to systematically examine investors' decisions and the potential outcomes, including consideration of cash flow and return on investment. This method requires data or assumptions about capital cost, variable cost, revenue, timing, and probability of success/failure, and would result in a detailed consideration of the value proposition of large investments and long lead times. This is one of a series of reports produced as a result of the Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project, a Department of Energy-sponsored multi-agency effort to pinpoint underexplored strategies for abating GHGs and reducing petroleum dependence related to transportation.« less