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Three Essays on Climate Change Mitigation Policies and Supply Chain Assessment for Biofuel Production
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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced in order to avoid dangerous climate change. There are a number of ways of achieving emissions reductions and agriculture can play an important role. Some involve reducing emissions and enhancing sequestration from agricultural production and yet others involve substituting low emitting products for higher emitting products. In this dissertation we will investigate agricultural mitigation strategies in terms of a countrywide INDC and later in terms of replacing petroleum-based fuels with biofuel produced from agricultural feedstocks. In the latter case we will focus on efficiency enhancement by investigating the key logistics questions involved with moving bulky feedstocks to facilities. In the first essay, a framework is employed that can provide a sector level evaluation and suggestion for agricultural mitigation policies in INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), taking into account strategy interactions and food market effects by building a quadratic, price endogenous programming model. In the case study of Vietnam, the model provides the optimal portfolios of the INDC options across different mitigation targets/incentives. Significant differences between economic and technical potential of mitigation policies are discovered. According to the assessment of mitigation policies on food market prices, Vietnam’s agriculture can accomplish unconditional contribution claimed in the INDC with modest impacts on its food markets. The results also suggest that delaying mitigation effort will increase the total costs of achieving the INDC commitments especially when the total amount of mitigation is not large. In the second essay, we turn to the issues of supply chain efficiency in moving agricultural feedstocks from points of production to biorefineries. The literature is overviewed and synthesized on economic concerns involved within biofuel supply chain. Opportunities and challenges emerge from feedstock production, prepossessing, storage and transportation in the biofuel supply chain systems are discussed. Following the conclusions from the second essay, the third essay quantitatively examines supply chain efficiency. In doing this we develop a mixed integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) model which integrates feedstock production, preprocessing, storage and biorefining as well as biofuel market effects. A case study is carried out at the level of the state of Texas for a variety of scenarios in terms of total amount of cellulosic biofuel produced then the model choice of supply chain elements is analyzed. Finally, we examine the value of including or omitting key supply chain elements considering the use of multiple feedstocks, preprocessing and feedstocks produced on marginal land.
Zhao, Guannan (2019). Three Essays on Climate Change Mitigation Policies and Supply Chain Assessment for Biofuel Production. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from