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Economic Analysis of Government Subsidies in an Advanced Biofuel Sector Assimilating Its Risk Preferences toward Feedstock Yields Uncertainty
Speaker Name
Dr. T. Edward Yu
Speaker Detail

Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics,
University of Tennessee, U.S.A.

Y5-302, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimize greenhouse gas emissions has led to increasing research on sustainable renewable energy source, including bioenergy. However, commercial scale of bioenergy production is severely constrained by investment risk and uncertainty. This study evaluates the impacts of policy supports on the optimal supply chain decisions adapting to feedstock yield uncertainty given different risk preferences of the biofuel sector in an integrated system. A two-stage stochastic mixed integer linear programming is developed to model a risk neutral biofuel sector that minimizes the expected cost considering feedstock cultivation along with biorefinery establishment. Alternatively, the Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) minimization focuses on the financial risk associated with investment decisions under feedstock yield uncertainty. Results of a case study in west Tennessee suggest that CVaR minimization case converts more land for switchgrass cultivation compared to the expected cost minimization to lower the high costs of low yield conditions. With the availability of subsidies, expected cost and investment risk are improved for the biofuel sector. However, both the expected cost and investment risk are reduced by a higher percent for the risk averse case than the risk neutral one that minimizes expected cost.

About the Speaker

Dr. T. Edward Yu is an associate professor at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the University of Tennessee. His research primarily focuses on agricultural and biomass logistics, agriculture-energy-environment nexus, and applied trade analysis. He has led and co-investigated various projects to evaluate the economics of biomass feedstock logistics systems, and estimated the consequent environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutions, soil quality, and water footprint. In addition, he has participated in several projects that estimate the impacts of biofuel policies on U.S. and world agricultural markets and land use change. Dr. Yu has served as a principal investigator (PI), co-PI or senior researcher for 21 grants totaled more than US$ 22.6 million since 2007. His research has produced 49 papers in a number of prestigious outlets, such as Science, Applied Energy, Energy, Renewable Energy, among others.