Economic & Sustainability Analysis

The TIMBR Economic and Sustainability Analysis team in focused on assessing the economic, environmental and agronomic impact of a global transition to an economy increasingly influenced by biofuels and biochemicals. They examine modeling and optimization methods to produce operating strategies for fuels and chemicals derived from wild and genetically engineered microbes.  The team emphasizes understanding the potential impact of biorefinery process designs based upon evolving conceptual design techniques.  These techniques identify combinations of unit operations such as pretreatment, fermentation or chemical conversion, and product recovery to maximize overall economics.

The team analyzes biorenewable technologies with respect to macro-economic supply and demand curves and evaluates how the TIMBR R&D portfolio relates to key economic indicators including:

  • Percentage of petroleum-based liquid fuels and chemicals likely to be replaced by bioproducts
  • Land-use costs and benefits relevant to climate change
  • Social indicator research with a strong focus on uncertainty analysis.

In collaboration with the other TIMBR teams, they initiate expert elicitations regarding the potential for technologies being researched, combine the elicitation results with bottom-up process modeling, technologically-detailed integrated assessment modeling, and top-down analytical modeling. The group also provides expertise in sustainable forest management, wildlife conservation economics, and forest products marketing and economics. Their research provides valuable insights into effective policy and the most promising and important directions for biorenewable product research.

Team Members

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Energy and environmental economics and policy; climate change policy; decision making under uncertainty.  Specific interests include evaluating energy technologies through their entire lifecycles and across multiple metrics spanning economic, environmental, and social aspects. 

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Development and application of GIS-based analytical methods to identify critical areas for conservation, restoration, and stormwater management in large, diverse watersheds; sustainable forest management; water supply protection

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Promotion of sustainable energy sources and consumption practices with a focus on examining economic and environmental impacts of biofuels and related policies.   

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Economics and marketing of biomass material supply and processing; Director of Building and Construction Technology Program

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Microbial routes to biofuels, systems biology, bioprocess engineering

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Cavitating and boiling flow in fuel injection systems; two-phase flow simulation of high-speed sprays; simulation of fuel evaporation and mixing in engines; gasoline-ethanol volatility