Drennen Presents on Renewable Energy – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Drennen Presents on Renewable Energy

On Friday, Feb. 12, Tom Drennen, associate professor of economics, chair of environmental studies, and senior economist at Sandia National Laboratories, will give a talk titled “The Economics of Biofuels” from 8 to 10 a.m. at the “Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Breakfast Series” at the Simon School  of Business at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.

Drennen will present the results of a model he has developed called “The Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation Model (AltSim).”

AltSim is a high-level dynamic simulation model which calculates and compares the production costs, carbon dioxide emissions, and energy balances of several alternative liquid transportation fuels. These fuels include: corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, soy-based biodiesel, and diesels derived from natural gas (gas to liquid, or GTL) and coal (coal to liquid, or CTL, and coal and biomass to liquid, or CBTL) based on study results on these various production pathways available in published reports and open literature.

AltSim allows analysis of sensitivity of key outputs (production costs, CO2 emissions, and energy balance) to user-defined variance of inputs including: capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, renewable and fossil fuel feedstock costs, feedstock conversion efficiency, financial assumptions, tax credits, CO2 taxes, and plant capacity factor.  AltSim also includes tools to provide first estimate of land use requirements for corn, and consider impacts of CO2 pricing and ethanol tax credits. A key goal of the model is to help policy makers understand the economic viability, sustainability, and current feasibility of various liquid transportation fuels.

Created by a taskforce of representatives from Finger Lakes Wired, the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Genesee Community College, High Tech Rochester and Monroe Community College, the Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Breakfast Series was designed to help identify possible business opportunities for the region.

During the fall of 2009, monthly meetings were held to look at “big picture” issues:  the federal government’s energy policy presented by the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy; the venture capital for renewable energy presented by a market analyst; and legal and regulatory implications of renewable energy presented by attorneys with experience in the renewable energy field.

In the spring semester, presentations are focused on how to “drill down” into the most important technologies which may be applicable to Western New York State. These include photovoltaics, wind, geothermal, biofuels, fuel cells, energy storage and the smart grid.

Each presentation will describe the history of the technology, the status of the market and the technology, options and opportunities for the technology, where we expect to be in the next few years and what will it take to get there. These will be non-technical presentations. These are community events offered at no charge but registration is required. Entrepreneurs who are seeking opportunities in the clean energy sector are encouraged to attend.


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