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Woody Biomass Processing and Rural Regional Development

Randall Jackson, Péter Járosi (), Amir Borges Ferreira Neto and Elham Erfanian ()
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Péter Járosi: Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University
Elham Erfanian: Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University

No Working Paper 2017-01, Working Papers from Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University

Abstract: This paper reports on economic and environmental impacts of introducing woody biomass processing in an economically distressed area in central Appalachia, one of the more heavily forested areas in the U.S. Woody biomass is a readily available unconventional energy source that has the potential to boost the rural region’s economy. We use a static regional computable general equilibrium model to assess regional economic impacts of two different WBP production pathways, biomass to ethanol and biomass to biofuel via fast pyrolysis. In an economy with a workforce approaching 160,000, we find that introducing woody biomass ethanol or fast pyrolysis processing would increase regional output by 0.45% and 0.78%, boost jobs by 0.13% and 0.20%, and increase income by 0.16% to 0.26%, respectively. The results from the environmental assessment show that the ethanol pathway is substantially more environmentally friendly than the fast pyrolysis pathway.

Keywords: woody biomass processing; computable general equilibrium models; central Appalachia; rural economic development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R58 R15 Q51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-ene and nep-env
Date: 2017-04-06
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