USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center Project: Pilot Project to Develop a Conceptual Model for the Complete Life-cycle Assessment of Biofuels Production in the Midwest

Objectives: Objective: Develop conceptual model for biofuels production in Midwestern landscapes We will develop a pilot, scalable conceptual model (Table 1) for evaluating the life cycle of energy, materials and ecosystem services for various biofuels production systems within the Midwest, using the state of Missouri as the pilot study area. Subsequently, we will identify appropriate subunits (such as ecological sections or regional watersheds) for which more detailed conceptual models can be developed. Finally, we will identify even smaller-scale units (such as ecological subsections or NRCS 8- or 12-digit Hydrologic Units) within which the concepts advanced in the model can be tested. To this end, we will develop a complementary proposal to receive funding through the USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis to test models within selected sub-units. The process of model development and testing will yield insight into 1) how the factors affecting biofuels production differ between subunits and 2) the information needed to more fully understand the impacts of biofuels production at various scales.
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