VBI Reports & Tools
The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative has developed or commissioned various studies, reports, and tools to determine the economic and ecological impact of developing a market for sustainable biofuels in Vermont. The following reports and tools explore whether Vermont farmers can sustainably, economically, and competitively produce some portion of Vermont's liquid fuel and livestock feed demand, as well as assess the commercial feasibility of locally produced bioenergy sources.
Indexed List of Reports & Tools
- Oilseed Cost and Profit Calculator
- Vermont On-Farm Oilseed Enterprises: Production Capacity and Breakeven Economics
- Energy Return on Energy Invested
- Vermont Biodiesel Supply Chain Survey: Final Report
- USDA Biofuels Report: VSJF Summary
- Final Report from the First Phase of the VBI
- Report to the Legislature on Biodiesel Production and Use in Vermont
- Technical and Economic Feasibility of Biodiesel Production in Vermont: Evidence from a Farm-Scale Study and a Commercial-Scale Simulation Analysis
- A Feasibility Analysis of a Mobile Unit for Processing Oilseed Crops and Producing Biodiesel in Vermont
- Homegrown Feed, Food & Fuel: The Market Potential of Farm-Scale Oilseed Crop Products in Vermont
- Homegrown Fuel: Economic Feasibility of Commercial-Scale Biodiesel Production in Vermont
Oilseed Cost and Profit Calculator (2011)—This tool is based in a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet and uses a simple, easy to use interface to collect cost factors.
Vermont On-Farm Oilseed Enterprises: Production Capacity and Breakeven Economics (March 2013)—This report showcases five Vermont on-farm biodiesel operations that use a variety of equipment to reach their different biodiesel and feed production goals. Then VSJF used data from these farms, collected over several years, to run a detailed economic analysis of a hypothetical 100,000-gallon per year on-farm biodiesel facility. A second hypothetical case based on a 13,000-gallon per year facility is also reviewed. The authors explain in ten steps how they estimate breakeven and profitability in both cases. The information and steps are applicable to any farmer interested in fuel and feed self-sufficiency or generating additional farm income.
Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) (2011)—High oil prices are driving renewed interest in biofuels, including biodiesel in the hope that it can substitute for petroleum-derived diesel. While many criteria must be used to determine whether these biofuels offer benefits over their fossil fuel-derived counterparts, the primary criteria must be that the biofuels are able to generate an energy surplus, defined as a positive energy return on energy invested (EROI).
By Eric L. Garza, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont.
Vermont Biodiesel Supply Chain Survey: Final Report (2011)—This study attempts to look at some of the reasons why the market is not developing as hoped from the perspective of four key sector groups: commercial end-users, residential end-users, fuel dealers, and biodiesel producers.
By Spring Hill Solutions
USDA Biofuels Report: VSJF Summary (2011)—The agenda, discussion questions attendee comment summary, attendee list, and some additional comments including a letter to the Secretary signed by nearly 200 Northeast business, organizations, and individuals.
For Secretary Vilsack
Final Report from the First Phase of the VBI (2009)—originally called the Vermont Biofuels Initiative)—Vermont is a small state with a large petroleum dependency for transportation (18th in per capita petroleum consumption) and home heating (55% of all households use petroleum for heating). The VBI marks the first strategic effort to reduce Vermont’s dependency on petroleum through the development of homegrown alternatives. In 2005 VSJF was awarded with a $496,000 Congressionally directed award from U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy through the U.S. Department of Energy with $396,000 to be used by VSJF for biodiesel development and $100,000 to be used by the Vermont Department of Public Service for methane biodigester projects.
Report to the Legislature on Biodiesel Production and Use in Vermont (2009)—This report looks at the issues surrounding biodiesel production and use, and makes recommendations to increase the use of biodiesel in Vermont.
Prepared for the Vermont Department of Public Service
Technical and Economic Feasibility of Biodiesel Production in Vermont: Evidence from a Farm-Scale Study and a Commercial-Scale Simulation Analysis (2009)—Investigates the technical and economic feasibility of producing biodiesel and livestock feed from Vermont oilseeds at a farm scale and a commercial scale. Technical feasibility at the farm scale is assessed using data from two Vermont farms. Enterprise budgets are used to assess the economic feasibility and profitability of the crop, oil and meal, and biodiesel enterprises individually and as a whole under two sets of market conditions. Economic feasibility and environmental and economic impacts of a commercial-scale biodiesel facility in Vermont are assessed using a simulation model.
By Emily Stebbins, graduate student, Community Development and Applied Economics, UVM
A Feasibility Analysis of a Mobile Unit for Processing Oilseed Crops and Producing Biodiesel in Vermont (2008)—Vermont oilseed production in support of food, feed and fuel markets on Vermont farms shows great promise. One challenge is the distribution of necessary equipment to process oilseeds into more useful forms: meal, oil, and biodiesel. Most farmers will not assume the risk of both producing oilseed crops and attempting to convert them to oil and meal. Mobile processors are one way to enable this fledging agricultural industry.
Homegrown Feed, Food & Fuel: The Market Potential of Farm-Scale Oilseed Crop Products in Vermont—Although farmers and biodiesel enthusiasts have been excited about the potential for these products, the full extent of the equipment, capital, and acreage needed to successfully grow, harvest and process these crops has been unknown. Determining the economic feasibility for farmers of such activities is vitally important at this early stage.
Executive Summary (2008)
Full Report (2008)
Homegrown Fuel: Economic Feasibility of Commercial-Scale Biodiesel Production in Vermont (2007)—Explores the feasibility of small-scale biodiesel production, its environmental impacts and the effects of key macro and micro-economic variables on the venture, especially the rising cost of crude oil and livestock feed.
Other Resources & Organizations
- Biomass >> Learn More
- Biofuels >> Learn More
- Biodiesel >> Learn More
- Cellulosic Ethanol >> Learn More
- Grass Energy >> Learn More
- Woody Biomass >> Learn More