Biomass Scenario Model

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Logo: Biomass Scenario Model (BSM)
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed system dynamics model, the Biomass Scenario Model (BSM), represents the primary system effects and dependencies in the biomass-to-bioenergy supply chain and provides a framework for developing scenarios and conducting bioenergy policy analysis.

The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a unique, carefully validated, state-of-the-art dynamic model of the domestic biofuels supply chain that explicitly focuses on policy issues, their feasibility, and their potential side effects. It integrates resource availability, physical/technological/economic constraints, behavior, and policy. The model uses a system dynamics simulation (not optimization) to model dynamic interactions across the supply chain: the BSM tracks the deployment of biofuels given technological development and the reaction of the investment community to those technologies in the context of land availability, the competing oil market, consumer demand for biofuels, and government policies over time. It has a strong emphasis on the behavior and decision making of various agents and resolves 10 geographic regions domestically. The BSM is currently used to develop insights into the biofuels industry growth and market penetration, particularly with respect to policies and incentives (volumetric, capital, operating subsidies; carbon caps/taxes; R&D investment; loan guarantees; tax credits) applicable to each supply-chain element. It is suitable for coupling to vehicle-choice, agricultural, oil-industry, and general economic models.

Evolution of Supply Chain for Biofuels

Questions the BSM Can Help Answer

  1. What points of leverage exist for accelerating the adoption of biofuels?
  2. How do particular policies and incentives rank in terms of their effectiveness?
  3. What supply-chain bottlenecks slow the growth of high-blend ethanol consumption?
  4. How do tipping-point dynamics affect the dominance of particular biofuels pathways?
  5. What opportunities exist for coordinating incentives and policies across the supply chain?
  6. How naturally inclined is the biofuels supply chain to develop toward meeting targets such as the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) volume requirements and percentage standards?
  7. How does the achievement of U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) targets through R&D efforts affect the overall success of biofuels?
  8. How substantially do BETO demonstration and market transformation investments foster the growth of particular biomass-to-biofuel conversion pathways?
  9. What might happen if the RSF2 or its implementation is changed significantly?


  1. Biomass Scenario Model
  2. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office

External Links