Drennen Leads Biofuels Workshop – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Drennen Leads Biofuels Workshop

The University of Rochester has invited Professor of Economics Thomas Drennen to lead a workshop on his Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation (ALTSim) Biofuels Model on Tuesday, June 29. Participants in the workshop will be trained in the use of the simulation model, which calculates and compares the production costs, carbon dioxide emissions, and energy balances of several alternative liquid transportation fuels.

Drennen, a senior economist with Sandia National Labs, developed the high-level dynamic simulation model to measure the effects of alternative fuels including corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, soy-based biodiesel, and diesels derived from natural gas and coal. A key goal of the model is to help policy makers understand the economic viability, sustainability and current feasibility of various liquid transportation fuels. ALTSim allows analysis of sensitivity of key outputs, including production costs, CO2 emissions, and energy balance, to user-defined variance of inputs: 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.

The workshop is part of an initiative to help identify possible business opportunities for the Upstate New York region. Led by a task force of representatives from Finger Lakes Wired, the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Genesee Community College, High Tech Rochester and Monroe Community College, these workshops began in the fall of 2009 and will continue through the summer of 2010. The deadline for registration for the ALTSim workshop is Thursday, June 24.

A member of the HWS faculty since 1995, Drennen earned a B.S. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in resource economics from Cornell University. In 2006, he received the Hobart and William Smith Excellence in Teaching Award. Drennen is also the author of a book, “Pathways to a Hydrogen Future,” which seeks to untangle competing visions of a hydrogen economy.