Economic impacts of using switchgrass as a feedstock for ethanol production: a case study located in East Tennessee

English, Burton C., Tun-Hsiang Edward Yu, James A. Larson, R. Jamey Menard, and Yuan Gao. 2013. Economics Research International 2013 (December): 14. doi:10.1155/2013/138485.

Type Journal Article
Author Burton C. English
Author Tun-Hsiang Edward Yu
Author James A. Larson
Author R. Jamey Menard
Author Yuan Gao
Volume 2013
Pages 14
Publication Economics Research International
ISSN 2090-2123
Date December, 2013
DOI 10.1155/2013/138485
Abstract One of the major motivations to establish a biobased energy sector in the United States is to promote economic development in the rural areas of the nation. This study estimated the economic impact of investing and operating a switchgrass-based ethanol plant in East Tennessee. Applying a spatially oriented mixed-integer mathematical programming model, we first determined the location of biorefinery, feedstock draw area, and the resources used in various feedstock supply systems by minimizing the total plant gate cost of feedstock. Based on the model output, an input-output model was utilized to determine the total economic impact, including direct, indirect, and induced effects of feedstock investment and annual production in the study region. Moreover, the economic impact of ethanol plant investment and annual conversion operation was analyzed. Results suggest that the total annual expenditures in an unprotected large round bale system generated a total $92.5 million in economic output within the 13 counties of East Tennessee. In addition, an estimated $234 million in overall economic output was generated through the operation of the biorefinery. This research showed that the least-cost configuration of the feedstock supply chain influenced the levels and types of economic impact of biorefinery.


  • Bioenergy
  • Biofuels
  • Economic indicators
  • Economics
  • Farm inputs
  • Industry
  • Land use
  • Models
  • Panicum virgatum
  • Storage

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