EPA Science Inventory

Model-based approach to study the impact of biofuels on the sustainability of an ecological system

Citation:

Kotecha, P., U. Diwekar, AND H. CABEZAS. Model-based approach to study the impact of biofuels on the sustainability of an ecological system. CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 15(1):21-33, (2013).

Description:

The importance and complexity of sustainability have been well recognized and a formal study of sustainability based on system theory approaches is imperative as many of the relationships between various components of the ecosystem could be nonlinear, intertwined and non-intuitive. A mathematical model capable of yielding qualitative inferences can serve as an important tool for policy makers as it can be simulated under various important scenarios and also help in evaluating different strategies and technologies. In this article, we consider a simplified ecological food web which comprises a macro-economic system, an industrial production sector, an energy generation sector, and elements of a human society along with a rudimentary legal system. The energy sector is designed to supply energy to the other components of the ecosystem either by using a finite, non-renewable energy source or by a combination of non-renewable source and biomass. Many of the components of the ecosystem depend directly or indirectly on the biomass used for energy production. Subsequently, this model is used to study the impact of using biomass for the production of energy on the sustainability of other components of ecosystem. We have also simulated the model under two commonly foreseen scenarios of population explosion and consumption increase to understand the effect of using biomass for the production of energy on the sustainability of the various components of the system.

Purpose/Objective:

To inform the public.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 02/01/2013
Completion Date: 02/01/2013
Record Last Revised: 04/16/2013
Record Created: 05/19/2011
Record Released: 05/19/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 235446

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTS BRANCH