Assistant Professor Jadwiga Ziolkowska will present Sustainability of Biofuels in an Uncertain Decision Environment. The presentation will begin at 12:30 p.m. on April 17 in room 325 Brooks Hall.

Ziolkowska is an Assistant Professor and environmental economist in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at University of Oklahoma, and manager of the Water-Energy-Food Institute (WEFI). Before joining OU, Jad was a post-doctoral scholar at University of California at Berkeley, an EU Marie Curie Fellow in the 7th Framework Program, and a researcher at University of Texas at Austin. She received her PhD and habilitation, both in agricultural economics from Humboldt University of Berlin. She published 3 books and authored 40+ peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters. Jad is specialized in policy evaluation and decision-making support in the field of natural resource, environmental, bioenergy, agricultural economics, and sustainable resource management. Her current research focus is on optimizing water management systems, desalination, biofuels, and socio-economic implications of drought.

ABSTRACT: The question of increasing biofuels production has become controversial. On the one hand, production of corn-based biofuels creates a ‘food/feed vs. fuel’ tradeoff condition, along with subsequent uncertainties for both consumers and producers. On the other hand, however, advanced biofuels (from, e.g., switchgrass, miscanthus, algae), though widely acknowledged as environmentally more friendly and economically efficient, are not available on a large commercial scale yet.

For many years, the US policy has been actively supporting the production and consumption of biofuels with subsidies and mandates. However, due to the limited production and consumption of cellulosic ethanol, in 2010, the Environment Protection Agency waived and adjusted the envisaged mandate down to 16 billion gallons by 2022.

The limited resource availability for the production of advanced biofuels feedstocks and the question of sustainability of biofuels production are major issues impacting decision making that, in addition, is plagued by uncertainties, due to incomplete information or missing knowledge about the consequences of possible policy actions.

During this talk a multi-objective optimization model, combining fuzzy logic and parametric programming will be presented, to discuss the question of sustainable biofuels production in the situation of limited resources and in an uncertain decision environment.