Sustainable feedstock for bioethanol production: Impact of spatial resolution on the design of a sustainable biomass supply-chain.


Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


This study assesses the role of spatial-resolution and spatial-variations in environmental impacts estimation and decision-making for corn-stover harvesting to produce biofuels. Geospatial corn-stover yields and environmental impacts [global warming potential (GWP), eutrophication, and soil-loss] dataset for two study areas in Wisconsin and Michigan were generated through Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model and aggregated at different spatial-resolutions (i.e., 100; 1000; 10,000 ha). For each spatial-resolution, decision-making was accomplished using an optimization routine to minimize different environmental impacts associated with harvesting stover to meet varied biomass demands. The results of the study showed that selective harvesting at higher-resolution (or lower-aggregation level) can result in significantly lower environmental impacts, especially at low stover demand levels. Additionally, the increased spatial resolution had more impact in minimizing the environmental impacts of corn stover harvest under a more variable landscape such as terrains and its influences are more pronounced for soil-loss and eutrophication potential compared to GWP.


Biofuel,Environmental impacts,Life cycle assessment,Optimization,Spatial analysis,

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