Produced analysis of EPA’s decision to reduce RFS targets and the impact of RFS on fuel prices at the pump.
Studied impact of expanded biofuel production on conversion of land to agriculture.
Estimated willingness of consumers to pay for ethanol in E85 and E10 blends.
Researched cost and feasibility of meeting RFS consumption targets.
Authored energy policy briefings that have generated nearly 19,000 downloads over the five-year period and have been widely cited.
Co-sponsored a conference on economics of biofuels at U.C. Berkeley.
Organized seminar and workshop series to create a network of interest in energy policy.
Energy Policy Seminars
The platform organized a series of energy policy seminars featuring invited experts from around the country and beyond. These seminars were held for the university audience and anyone else who wanted to learn more about energy policy issues. The series featured speakers from Berkeley, Harvard, UCLA, USDA, Utrecht, Texas, Davis, Ontario, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Lawrence Livermore, Purdue, Texas Tech, Carnegie Mellon, and MIT.
Click on a speaker to see details of their presentation (listed oldest to most recent).
- Nick PaulsonNick PaulsonAssociate professor, agricultural and consumer economics, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Conducting Economic Research to Impact Policy Decisions
Paulson discusses how economists inform and shape policy decisions resulting in impactful academic policy outcomes and funding. This seminar also provides examples of biofuel policy projects and commodity programs for the 2014 Farm Bill.
Presented Nov. 29, 2012
- Marc RosenMarc RosenProfessor of mechanical engineering, University of Ontario of Technology
Energy Sustainability and the Roles of Bioenergy
Rosen presents on energy sustainability and the roles of bioenergy. He examines what factors need to be considered and appropriately addressed in moving towards energy sustainability.
Presented Dec. 6, 2012
- Chung-Li TsengChung-Li TsengAssociate professor of operations management, University of New South Wales, Australia, Business School
Clean Technology Adoption Under Climate Policies: Tradable Permits vs. Carbon Tax
Using the Australian carbon tax situation as a case study, Chung-Li Tseng applies research findings to showcase permits and tax. Tseng also acknowledges that political uncertainty may affect the induction of clean technology.
Presented Jan. 31, 2013
- Robert JohanssonRobert JohanssonChief economist, United States Department of Agriculture
What is Driving Renewable Identification Number (RIN) Prices? Insight from a Medium-run RIN Pricing Model
Johansson recommends a model that could be used in conjunction with government estimates for corn, soybean, ethanol, and biodiesel production and consumption. The model investigates which important factors underlie RIN prices.
Presented Apr. 11, 2013.
- Kathy HalvorsenKathy HalvorsenProfessor of natural resource policy, Michigan Technological University.
Cellulosic Ethanol: Are We Finished with Forty Years of Being Five Years Away from Commercialization?
With the need for more cellulosic ethanol, Halvorsen focuses on policy dimensions, the challenges behind commercialization, and future projections for the biofuel form.
Presented on Apr. 25, 2013
- Ross BaldickRoss BaldickProfessor of electrical and computer engineering, University of Texas at Austin
Harnessing Electric Vehicle Demand Flexibility
Baldick illustrates how harnessing demand flexibility can enable renewable integration.
Presented May 1, 2013.
- James BushnellJames BushnellProfessor of economics, University of California, Davis; and research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
Forecasting Supply and Demand Balance in California's Cap and Trade Market
Bushnell presents his research forecasting emissions and prices, specifically in the California emission market and its equilibrium probabilities.
Presented Sept. 10, 2013
- Andre FaaijAndre FaaijProfessor of energy system analysis, scientific director, Copernicus Institute; and head of unit in the department of energy & resources, University of Utrecht
Biobased Economy; Quo Vadis
Faaij discusses the market developments for biomass energy and materials, and the importance of the biobased economy. Faaij details how problems are avoidable by properly managing land and increasing resource efficiency. Faaij then discusses viewpoints on moving forward.
Presented Oct. 3, 2013
- Jerome DumortierJerome DumortierAssistant professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Co-firing in Coal Power Plants and its Impact on Biomass Feedstock Availability
Dumortier examines the effects of local biomass supply and the demand of different co-firing policies imposed on 398 existing coal-fired power plants.
Presented Mar. 24, 2014
- Paul AdlerPaul AdlerResearch agronomist, U.D. Dept. of Agriculture
Life Cycle Assessment: A Tool to Inform Energy Policy
Adler talks about life cycle assessment methods and how they have been used to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with different crop production systems and feedstock conversion technologies.
Presentation May 4, 2014
- William HoganWilliam HoganRaymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; director, Harvard Electricity Policy Group
Electricity Market Design and the Green Agenda
Hogan’s seminar proposes that electricity market design can promote efficiency and innovation or stand as a barrier to overcome.
Presentation Apr. 24, 2014
- Maximilian AuffhammerMaximilian AuffhammerAssociate professor, international area studies and agricultural and resource economics, University of California at Berkeley
Quantifying Intensive and Extensive Margin Adaptation Responses to Climate Change: A Study of California's Residential Electricity Consumption
Auffhammer suggests that the demand for electricity will increase in California as households continue to operate air conditioners. By using a two-stage method, Auffhammer shows that accounting capital investment leads to higher projections of electricity consumption.
Presentation May 5, 2014
- Deepak RajagopalDeepak RajagopalAssistant professor of urban planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Firm Behavior and Emissions Under Emission Intensity Regulation: Evidence from Alberta's Specified Gas Emitters Regulation
Rajagopal discusses the implications of analyzed firm-level data from one-of-a-kind EI regulation. Research shows that regulation has no impact on annual emissions or average facility intensity.
Presentation Sept. 11, 2014
- S. Jack HuS. Jack HuMechanical, industrial and operations engineering professor &J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing, University of Michigan
Perspectives on Advanced Manufacturing and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
Hu explores two case studies involving scientific methods and technological innovations. Along with offering a personal perspective on important topics, Hu also discusses the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
Presented Feb. 15, 2016
- Sheldon (Xiaodong) DuSheldon (Xiaodong) DuAssistant professor in agricultural and applied economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; member, Wisconsin Energy Institute
Prospects for Biofuels in a Changing Environment: Flexible-fuel Vehicle Adoption and the Impact on US Biofuel Market
Du characterizes the spatial and temporal patterns of FFV adoption and development of E85 retail stations across the US regional markets. Du also investigates the driving forces of FFV adoption and developed a partial equilibrium model of the US biofuel market.
Presentation Dec. 4, 2014
- Roger AinesRoger AinesCarbon Fuel Cycle Innovations Program leader, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Challenge of Creating a Low-Carbon Economy in the Age of Natural Gas
Aines discusses US progress in carbon capture and storage (CCS), focusing on Department of Energy programs. Aines incorporates the impacts of gas production, projections for the future of gas, and the potential for truly zero- or negative-carbon technology.
Presentation Feb. 19, 2015
- Niven WinchesterNiven WinchesterEnvironmental energy economist, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
The Feasibility, Costs, and Environmental Implications of Large-scale Biomass Energy
Niven Winchester develops a detailed representation of bioenergy in a global economy-wide model and a global carbon dioxide price scenario to determine the feasibility, costs, and implications of large-scale biomass energy.
Oct. 17, 2015
- Dominique van der MensbruggheDominique van der MensbruggheResearch professor, director, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Purdue University
Land-use Changes Through 2050: Highlights from a Global Agro-economic Model Comparison
Dominique van der Mensbrugghe assesses the concerns and impacts of climate change through a study done by the Agricultural Modeling Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). This seminar describes its key components, harmonization assumptions, land-use specification, and the range of land-use outcomes.
Presentation Mar. 9, 2015
- Richard PlevinRichard PlevinResearch scientist, Sustainable Transportation Energy Program, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Berkeley
Is Performance Regulation Based on Life Cycle Assessment Feasible?
Richard Plevin discusses the semantics and uses of the life cycle assessment (LCA), epistemological issues with “carbon intensity,” the challenges of modeling complex environmental problems, and the requirements for a successful performance-based regulation.
Presentation Apr. 6, 2015
- Carlos Grateron & Luis Enrique PradoCarlos Grateron & Luis Enrique PradoCarlos Grateron, chemist, Industrial University of Santander. Luis Enrique Prado, assistant distillery director, Incauca S.A.
Second-Generation Ethanol and Colombian Biofuel
Grateron and Prado give an international perspective on second-generation ethanol. They discuss Colombian biofuel policies, the Biofuels National Program, 1G ethanol production results, and 2G ethanol challenges.
Presented Sept. 30, 2015
- Anthy AlexiadesAnthy AlexiadesAir resources engineer, California Air Resources Board
California's Innovative Policies to Fight Climate Change
Alexiades gives an overview of California’s multi-pronged strategies and delves into the design of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by discussing its challenges, successes and lessons learned.
Presented Oct. 21, 2015
- Katharine HayhoeKatharine HayhoeAssociate professor of public administration, Texas Tech University; University’s Climate Science Center director
Mitigate, Adapt, or Suffer: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts
Hayhoe explores the relationship between global temperature targets and projected future changes in a series of regional impact-relevant metrics. In the end, Hayhoe and the audience attempts to answer the question: To what extent do differences in global targets translate into differences in impacts on the Midwest?
Presented Apr. 21, 2015
- Constantine SamarasConstantine SamarasAssistant professor, civil and environmental engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Costs and Benefits of Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction and Exports: Life Cycle GHGs, Air Emissions and Road Impacts
Samaras highlights research efforts surrounding unconventional natural gas including monetized regional life cycle air quality, benefits, and infrastructure damages. Samaras also discusses Marcellus Shale’s natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania, and the life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions and costs associated with US liquefied natural gas exports.
Presented May 4, 2015
- James H. StockJames H. StockHarold Hitching Burbank Professor of Political Economy; member, Harvard Kennedy School faculty
The Pass-through of RIN Prices to Wholesale and Retail Fuels Under the Renewable Fuel Standard
As a former economic advisor to the White House, Stock presents on the extent to which RIN prices are passed to the price of obligated fuels and provides econometric results that complement the graphical analysis in Burkholder (2015). Stock analyzes daily RIN data, and observes the transmission of RIN prices to retail fuel prices and the price of E85.
Presented Apr. 4, 2016
- Nathan ParkerNathan ParkerAssistant research professor, Arizona State University’s School of Geography Science and Urban Planning.
Transition Costs for Cellulosic Biofuels: Overcoming the Mountain of Despair
Parker examines transition costs and risks to the economic potential of cellulosic biofuels and its policy incentives. Parker argues that costs are poorly defined and are important in enforcing better policy.
Presented Mar. 2, 2016
- Soren AndersonSoren AndersonAssociate professor, economics and agricultural, food, and resource economics, Michigan State University.
Hotelling Under Pressure
Anderson reformulates Hotelling’s exhaustible resource extraction as a drilling problem model to explain how Texas oil production does not respond to oil prices when responding to drilling activity and costs.
Presented Mar. 25, 2016
Energy Policy Workshops
- Bruce BabcockPlatform leader, Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy platform; and professor of economics, Iowa State University.
Overview of a RIN Simulation Model and Outlook for Crops and Biofuels in 2013
Babcock covers numerical methods used to build stochastic simulations of policy and market shocks and their impact on feedstock and biofuel markets as well as RIN valuation.
Presented Oct. 26, 2012
- Ross MorrowAssistant professor of mechanical engineering, Iowa State University.
Numerical Methods for (Regulated) "Market Systems" Models
Morrow presents on computational methods for real-scale market systems models including regulation to establish coercivity and existing methods for computing equilibria.
Presented Nov. 9, 2012
- John Beghin & Sebastian PouliotProfessors of Economics, Iowa State University
AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Competitive Grants Program
Beghin and Pouliot discuss what to propose to the RFP of USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy Competitive Grants Program, and identify potential research ideas and themes that fit the RFP.
Presented Jan. 22, 2013
- Erin MacDonaldAssistant professor of mechanical engineering, Iowa State University.
Successful Sustainable Design at the Intersection of Engineering and Human Behavior
MacDonald speaks about layout optimization with respect to landowner concerns, the design for the consideration of sustainable consumer products, and the broad recommendations for market-successful sustainable design.
Presented Apr. 5, 2013
- Sebastien PouliotProfessor of economics, Iowa State University.
The Demand for E85: Geographical Location and Capacity Constraints of Fuel Stations
Pouliot presents on shaping the demand for ethanol, particularly E85 and the geography and capacity of fuel stations.
Sebastien Pouliot was an Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy workshops and seminars series organizer.
Presented Sept. 27. 2013
- John BeghinProfessor of economics, Iowa State University.
Beghin asks his audience to identify themes on the sustainability of bioplastics and the associated risk from individual, corporate and societal perspectives.
Beghin was a platform leader for Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy.
Presentation Nov. 13, 2013
- Mark Mba WrightAssistant professor ofmechanical engineering, Iowa State University.
A Top-down Analysis of Optimal Incentive Strategies in an Advanced Biofuel Market (part 2)
Wright discusses the nature of techno-economic challenges and describes an analytical framework of the economic strategies of biofuel industry agents.
Presented Nov. 20, 2013
- Guiping HuAssociate professor, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, Iowa State University.
Biofuel Supply Chain and Bottom-up Market Equilibrium Model for Production and Policy Analysis
Hu challenges her audience to think about biofuel supply chain design and market equilibrium models for production and policy analysis. She investigates the biofuel supply chain facility location, capacity at strategic levels, and biofuel production decisions at operational levels while presenting Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP).
Presented Jan. 31, 2014
- Lizhi WangAssociate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Iowa State University.
Potential Competition for Biomass Between Biopower and Biofuel Under RPS and RFS2
Wang uses a linear programming model to study the competition between biopower generation, biofuel production, and other interactions between the two policies.
Presented Feb. 14, 2014
- Amani ElobeidLecturer, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and economics, Iowa State University.
An Overview of the CARD/FAPRI Biofuel Model
Elobeid describes the structure of the international ethanol model in the CARD/FAPRI agricultural modeling system with emphasis on the US and Brazil.
Presented Mar. 11, 2014
- John Beghin, Jean-Christophe Bureau, Alexandre GohinJohn Beghin is platform leader for Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy and economics professor, Iowa State University. Jean-Christophe Bureau is professor of economics, AgroParisTech, University of Paris-Saclay. Alexandre Gohin is a senior researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA-Rennes Centre), France
The Impact of a Potential US-EU Free Trade Agreement on Biofuel and Feedstock
Beghin, Bureau, and Gohin assesses the impact of a potential US-EU free trade agreement on respective markets of interest for the bio-energy economy (feedstock, ethanol, bio-diesel, and related crops competing with feedstock) and for the US, EU, and major global players for these markets.
Presented Sept. 25, 2014
John Beghin was platform leader for Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy and an economics professor at Iowa State University.
Jean-Christophe Bureau is a professor of economics at AgroParisTech, University of Paris-Saclay.
Alexandre Gohin is a senior researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA-Rennes Centre), France.
- Jonathan McFaddenGraduate student. economics, Iowa State University
Climate Change and US Corn Yields
McFadden offers his findings that regardless of climate change, yields in Midwestern counties will continue to rise over the next two decades.
Presented Oct. 13, 2014
- Deung-Yong HeoGraduate student, economics, Iowa State University
Effects of a Carbon Tax and Wind Power Penetration on CO2 Emissions in Wholesale Electric Power Markets
Heo presents his paper on developing an empirically-based computational test bed of a wholesale electric power marker. It analyzes how the imposition of a carbon tax and increased penetration of wind power could impact CO2 emissions and other key outcomes.
Nov. 17, 2014
- Sara Maples, Ingrid Anderson, David Laird, Ferman MilsterDavid Laird is a professor and agronomy and environmental science at Iowa State University. Sara Maples is sustainability and research manager at the University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business. Ingrid Anderson is a compliance specialist at UI Energy Management; Ferman Milster is principal engineer at the UI Office of Sustainability
Update of UI Biomass Project and ISU Power Plant Project
The team provides an update about the biomass project and discuss the process to hire an ag services provider. They also give a progress report on the development of the sustainable fuel index.
Presented Mar. 25, 2015
- Leilei ZhangGraduate student, industrial and manufacturing system engineering, Iowa State University
Impacts of an Increased Penetration of Flexible Fuel Vehicles on Imperfectly Competitive Biofuel Markets
Zhang incorporates constant elasticity demand functions of different fuels in bottom-up equilibrium model framework considering imperfectly competitive biofuel markets. Zhang considers questions such as: What are the impacts of fuel substitution? Which stakeholders would benefit most from increased FFVs penetration? How does consumer surplus and social welfare change?
Presented Apr. 15, 2015
- Kenneth LiaoPostdoctoral research associate. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University
Demand for Ethanol: Evidence from Consumer Choice Between E85 and E10
Liao presents his study on obtaining new transaction-level E85 sales data, provides new estimates of E85 demand, and showcases the average discount of E85 from stated preference data.
Presented Oct. 14, 2015
- Chao LiResearch assistant, economics, Iowa State University
Can Corn Stover Alone Meet the Cellulosic Mandate? An Optimal Pricing Mechanism for a Monoposonistic Buyer of Corn Stover
Li solves a monopsonistic optimization problem under feasibility constraints and compares college pricing policies to determine the optimal premium policy for a single plant. Li also analyzes the optimal price strategy for an existing plant if there is another plant is attempting to enter the industry.
Presented Nov. 5, 2015
- Mark Mba WrightAssistant professor, mechanical engineering, Iowa State University
Learning Rates: Fundamentals and Application to Advance Biofuel Economic Analysis
Mark Mba Wright compares advanced optimal biofuel facility capacities and cost prediction based on economies-of-scale to the S-curve and Stanford-B learning cost models.
Presented Jan. 20, 2016
- Amanda RasterGraduate student, political science and sustainable agriculture, Iowa State University
China: An Emerging Market for Fuel Ethanol
Amanda Raster designs this workshop to answer questions surrounding China’s potential as a fuel ethanol market. Raster discusses China’s biofuel industry and projected bioethanol production figures, comparing ethanol shipment and what might impact emission related to land use change.
Presented Feb. 8, 2016
- Qi DangPostdoctoral researcher, Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University
Ultra-low Carbon Emissions from Coal-fired Power Plants through Bio-oil Co-firing and Bio-char Sequestration
Dang investigates a novel strategy for reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants through co-firing bio-oil and sequestering bio-char in agricultural lands.
Presented Dec. 4, 2015
- Sebastien PouliotIowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy workshops and seminars series organizer; professor, economics, Iowa State University
Feasibility of Meeting Increased Biofuel Mandates with E85
Pouliot holds a workshop on estimating the demand for E85, reporting on how owners of flex vehicles responded to change in E85 price and findings that owners of current flex vehicles in US metro areas consume 250 million gallons of E85 on parity.
Presented Feb. 17, 2016
- Yu WangAssistant professor, political science, Iowa State University
Impacts of the Clean Power Plan: An Investigation Using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS)
Wang introduces the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) modeling structure for the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), and demonstrates NEMS capacity by modeling the potential impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
Presented Mar. 9, 2016
Click on a person to learn more about these leaders of the Iowa NSF EPSCoR energy policy platform.
- Bruce BabcockProfessor, EconomicsIowa State UniversityBruce BabcockProfessor, Economics
The energy policy platform was led by Babcock, a professor of economics, Cargill Endowed Chair of Energy Economics for the Center of Agricultural and Rural Development, and director of the Biobased Industry Center at Iowa State University.
Along with Sebastien Pouliot, another Iowa NSF EPSCoR researcher, Babcock received the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s AAEA Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis based on work supported by the Iowa NSF EPSCoR Energy Policy Platform.
- John BeghinProfessor, EconomicsIowa State UniversityJohn BeghinProfessor, Economics
Beghin led the seminars and workshops series, which were a main effort of the energy policy platform.
Click on a person to read how Iowa NSF EPSCoR helped faculty develop their careers and further their research.
- Sebastien PouliotAssociate Professor, EconomicsIowa State UniversitySebastien PouliotAssociate Professor, Economics
Sebastien Pouliot is an agricultural economist, focusing on the demand for ethanol, one type of biofuel made mostly from corn.
Iowa NSF EPSCoR provided Pouliot an opportunity to build a research program on the economics of biofuels and greatly increased national visibility. His research and outreach resulted in receiving professional Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s AAEA Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis. Pouliot also received tenure in part because of his work on Iowa NSF EPSCoR.
- Alicia RosburgAssistant Professor, EconomicsUniversity of Northern IowaAlicia RosburgAssistant Professor, Economics
Rosburg studied farmer risk perceptions using a survey of Midwest farmers. The project determined how farmers’ risk perceptions differed from the theoretical estimates of risk, and how risk perceptions differed among farmers in similar conditions and contexts. Results from this project are used to improve economic models that analyze and develop energy policy. Iowa NSF EPSCoR also helped Rosburg participate in workshops and conferences.
- Yu WangAssistant Professor, Political ScienceIowa State UniversityYu WangAssistant Professor, Political Science
Yu Wang was a new faculty hire made possible in part by Iowa NSF EPSCoR, with an appointment in political science, focusing on energy policy.
An Iowa NSF EPSCoR seed grant helped Wang jump start research on potential market for biofuels in China. She also presented at and attended the platform’s energy policy seminars and workshops. Wang took over teaching energy policy courses such as Biorenewables Law and Policy and International Biorenewables Law and Policy at Iowa State.
Seed Grant Impact
An Iowa NSF EPSCoR seed grant program increased participation of under‐represented junior faculty in energy policy research. These activities included development of an undergraduate course module by Georgeanne Artz and an extension programming effort by Keri Jacobs. Both are assistant professors of economics at Iowa State. The program also facilitated new research by several junior faculty members.
Outreach to Elected Officials
Iowa NSF EPSCoR’s energy policy platform held a number of events to inform public officials about issues involving energy policy. These included workshops on the renewable fuel standard for U.S. congressional members in Washington, D.C., hosting Iowa legislators in the laboratory, and tours of research activities in Iowa.
Each platform of the Iowa NSF EPSCoR program was charged with developing broader Impacts and integrating them into their research projects. The goal was to build inter-disciplinary research groups, foster collaborations with industry, and communicate science to specialized and general audiences.In addition to its seminars, workshops, and papers, the energy policy platform included:
Sponsorship of symposiums with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center on renewable energy and adapting to weather extremes.
Support for the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for a symposium on energy cultures.
Iowa NSF EPSCoR activities led to funded research and a $4 million application (funding is pending) from USDA NIFA.
Researchers will leverage the Iowa NSF EPSCoR‐established network of energy policy experts to pursue additional funding support.
Increased study of biofuel policies has led to more fundable research questions, such as “what are the best compliance pathways with biofuel policies?” and “do consumers discount drop‐in biofuels?”
Biofuels policy research will continue at the Iowa State’s Biobased Industry Center.
Iowa State will continue to participate in Iowa congressional biofuels tours.
For More Information
This page represents only a some of the highlights of the energy policy platform. See the Energy Policy main page.
Contact researchers who worked on the Iowa NSF EPSCoR Bioenergy platform.