Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Natural Resources

Major Professor

Tun-Hsiang Yu

Committee Members

Christopher N. Boyer, Seong-Hoon Cho, Burton C. English, Donald G. Hodges

Abstract

Feedstock-based renewable fuels, and ecosystem restoration practices such as afforestation are long-term solutions to mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This dissertation aligns with assessing the effects of policy supports and voluntary incentive programs on renewable fuel production and forest-based carbon sequestration.Higher investment risks and novelty of the feedstock-based conversion technologies hinder large-scale deployment of renewable fuels at present. In the first essay, a two-stage stochastic model is employed to evaluate the impact of federal subsidies in designing a switchgrass-based bioethanol supply chain in west Tennessee wherein decisions driven by minimized expected and Conditional Value-at-Risk of system cost reflected the risk-neutral and risk-averse perspective of the biofuel sector, respectively. Major contribution of this study is the impact assessment of Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) on investment decisions (including land allocation) of a risk-sensitive biofuel industry under feedstock supply uncertainty.In the second essay, impacts of renewable jet fuel (RJF) production from switchgrass on farmland allocation, processing facility configuration, and GHG emissions are estimated in response to fulfilling the RJF demand at the Memphis International Airport in Tennessee. Importantly, a potential carbon market is used to explore the impact of hypothetical carbon credits on the GHG emissions reduction and net supply-chain welfare while addressing the economic motives of the supply-chain participants. Considering the attention paid by the Unites States aviation sector with respect to GHG emissions, this study highlights the importance of Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits and tradable carbon credits in achieving the desired economic viability and emission abatement goals through a Stackelberg interaction between the feedstock suppliers and the feedstock processor.In the third essay, discriminatory-price auction and agent-based model are used to examine the cost-efficiency of cost-ranked and cost-benefit-ranked auction-based payment designs for forest-based carbon sequestration with varying degree of correlation between opportunity costs of afforestation and carbon sequestration capacities, when bidders learn in multi-round procurement auctions. Simulation outcomes are expected to guide decision makers in choosing an optimal payment design that ensures efficiency gains for auction-based payments compared to fixed-rate payments, and more importantly ensures minimal loss in cost-efficiency in a dynamic setting.

Orcid ID

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1723-3009

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