Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Iteration - a system dynamics model of food vs. biomass

I have been doing a lot of research lately and as a result my blog has been relatively sparse on posts. However, this research has enabled me to develop a very crude model of the impact of biomass production for fuel on food yield within a finite space of land.

This model is by no means close to representing the various dimensions needed to make it worthwhile. However, this is my blog and I wanted to post what I'm working on at this moment.

Keep in mind this model does not account for:
  • Demand on food due to growing population
  • Demand on biofuel (biodiesel specifically)
  • Energy requirements for planting and harvesting
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Carbon Taxes (as incentives for adopting biofuel)
  • Rate of Land Degradation
  • Price Fluctuations in Petrol Markets

Now, these aren't all of the parameters that will be added to the model, but they are some of the most important ones at this stage. The idea is to provide this general model that can be adapted to fit with various farming systems, ie mainstream industrial farming represented as a mono cropping system and alternative multi-cropping systems where there a number of various crops with differing values competing for resources. Each system present different management practices and therefore different energy consumption patterns.

Over the next few months this will represent a central theme on my blog as this is what I'm working on... imagine that!

Anyway, here is the current model structure (I will post the equations in another post but this is hopefully a useful visual):

Here is the output:

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