Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Jackson Cothren

Committee Member

Greg Thoma

Second Committee Member

Chuck West

Abstract

In February 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the revised Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), mandating at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be produced annually in America, and blended into all on/off road, locomotive, and marine gasoline and diesel by the year 2022. America's existing biorefineries fall significantly short of being able to meet this mandate, resulting in the need for rapid expansion in the near future if this goal is to be met. The state of Arkansas has abundant resources to offer the renewable energy industry, if properly utilized. The goal of this thesis is to identify areas in Arkansas which are best suited for operating a 40 million gallon per year cellulosic biorefinery. A methodology has been developed using geographic information systems to examine potential biomass feedstock supply availability. This method allows for the input of user-defined parameters to construct desired feedstock portfolios. Results indicate that ideal biorefinery locations are dependent upon the type of feedstock required. When considering dedicated energy crops, the expected participation rate for land to be converted plays a major role in the number of potential biorefinery sites identified. The methodology presented has the flexibility to be applied to other areas in the United States.

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