Economic Analysis and Ecosystem Service Valuation

The economics of strategically producing perennial bioenergy crops and the added value of including ecosystem services
Impact of Landscape Design on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Shrub Willow Bioenergy Buffers in a U.S. Midwest Corn Production Landscape
  • Canter, C.E., K. Zolton, J.F. Cacho, M.C. Negri, C.R. Zumpf, and J.J. Quinn, 2022, Impact of landscape design on the greenhouse gas emissions of shrub willow bioenergy buffers in a U.S. Midwest corn production landscape: Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining. https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.2345
  • Evaluates the sustainability of producing shrub willow buffers for bioenergy compared to corn production for ethanol.
  • Compares greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across three different willow production scenarios on marginal land in the Indian Creek Watershed.
  • Reduced use of fertilizers, other chemicals and energy during shrub willow growth and ethanol production resulted in lower lifecycle GHG emissions compared to corn.

Integrated Strategies to Enable Lower-Cost Biofuels
  • U.S. DOE, 2020, Integrated Strategies to Enable Lower-Cost Biofuels: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office, DOE/EE-2079.
  • Ecosystem services valuation plays a role in reducing the cost of biofuel production.
  • Contributed material on integrated landscape management, ecosystem services and their valuation.

Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Alternative Bioenergy Landscape Scenarios
  • Mishra, S.K., M.C. Negri, J. Kozak, J. Cacho, J. Quinn, S. Secchi, and H. Ssegane, 2019, Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Alternative Bioenergy Landscape Scenarios: Global Change Biology Bioenergy,11:748–762. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12602
  • Estimated the value of six types of ecosystem services for an Illinois watershed (Upper Vermilion River) with marginal farmland converted to perennial switchgrass.
  • Nitrate reduction had the largest value, based on a potential nutrient credit-trading scheme.
  • Others in descending value were greenhouse gas emission reduction, erosion reduction, wildlife viewing, pheasant hunting, and water-based recreation.
  • First known effort to quantify ecosystem service values comprehensively for a watershed.

The Economics of Growing Shrub Willow as a Bioenergy Buffer on Agricultural Fields. A case study in the Midwest Corn Belt
  • Ssegane, H., C. Zumpf, M.C. Negri, P. Campbell, J. Heavey, and T.A. Volk, 2016, The Economics of Growing Shrub Willow as a Bioenergy Buffer on Agricultural Fields. A case study in the Midwest Corn Belt. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 10:776–789. https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.1679.
  • Examined the economics of growing shrub willow as a biomass source in buffer locations in the Indian Creek, IL watershed.
  • Growing willow found to produce negative revenue, mainly due to land rental costs.
  • However, when the nitrogen removal benefit is factored in and valorized, the net costs of willow are comparable to those of other conservation practices, and other ecosystem services are expected also.

Photo of corn field

About EVS

The Environmental Science Division (EVS) at Argonne National Laboratory conducts research on environmental systems to understand how system components could change as a result of energy activities, nationally important emerging technologies, and major new federal policies and programs. Our core studies focus on land and renewable resources, surface and subsurface hydrology, coupled ecosystem processes, radiation and chemical risk management, environmental restoration, atmospheric processes and measurement, and climate research. Our work provides the nation with rigorous science and engineering analyses about the present and possible future state of the environment.

www.evs.anl.gov   |   [email protected]


The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). Argonne National Laboratory is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC, for the U.S. DOE under contract DE–AC02–06CH11357.

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