Iowa NSF EPSCoR Energy Policy Seminar Series

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Date/Time:Wednesday, 02 Mar 2016 from 3:40 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:1306 Elings Hall
Channel:Bioeconomy Institute
Categories:Lectures Live Green
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"Transition Costs for Cellulosic Biofuels: Overcoming the Mountain of Despair," Nathan Parker, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Studies of the economic potential of cellulosic biofuels suggest that the policy incentives in place should be enough to spur the development of an industry. This picture does not match the reality of the industry development thus far. The difference can be largely explained by costs associated with scale up to commercial production and a host of risks. This talk examines these transition costs and risks with the goal of better informing the policy process. I argue that these costs are poorly defined and the most important for evaluating the innovation-forcing policies, such as the cellulosic component of the Renewable Fuel Standard and California's low carbon fuel standard. Past analysis of these policies have failed to properly account for them.

Dr. Parker develops simulation models to shed light on the economic viability and environmental implications of alternatives to petroleum-based transportation fuels. The simulation models are powerful optimization tools for complex systems-level analysis. They are spatially explicit, include important details about alternative fuel technologies, and bring together both the supply chain and demand components of these industries. In addition, his work analyzes policies aimed at catalyzing transitions to renewable energy. He received his B.S. in Physics from Wake Forest University in 2001, an M.S. in Transportation Technology and Policy from the University of California, Davis in 2007, and earned a PhD in Transportation Technology and Policy from University of California, Davis in 2011.