NBIM is a dynamic model that features “boom and bust” investment cycles. For this reason, you might see investment peaking and then falling. Also, you might see some land that was converted to biofuel feedstocks being idled as feedstock prices fall too low.

NBIM is open-source and free. Download instructions are given below. It is written in the modeling system Vensim DSS, and requires the (free) Vensim runtime to run.

Version 0.6 beta

NBIM is a scenario model that simulates decision-making by domestic and foreign investors whether to invest in biofuel projects in a developing country. The model is useful for rapidly exploring the implications of broad types of policies by seeing how they perform in a simulation.

NBIM cannot be used to evaluate specific policies or to make projections, but it can be used to gain insight. NBIM is a dynamic model that features “boom and bust” investment cycles. For this reason, you might see investment peaking and then falling. Also, you might see some land that was converted to biofuel feedstocks being idled as feedstock prices fall too low.

The current version of NBIM is at a “beta” stage. As beta software, it may not perform as intended. Please note:

  • We welcome bug reports and other feedback. Please e-mail Eric Kemp-Benedict with your comments.
  • The data are not correct. At present, they are only intended to give reasonable magnitudes for evaluation purposes. Please check them carefully before running the model for a particular country.
  • The model itself is well developed, but will be modified in the future.
Screen shot of the NBIM control screen
Screen shot of the NBIM control screen

A word of caution

Under the terms of the license (see below), neither SEI nor CIFOR has any responsibility for the way in which you use the NBIM model. However, we offer some guidance on proper use.

NBIM is a scenario simulation model. Its purpose is to provide insight during a policy engagement and is best used as part of a structured scenario process. More specifically,

  • NBIM outputs are not suitable for publication. Insights generated by the model, supported by additional material, are suitable, but the numbers produced by the model should not be put into a paper or report.
  • NBIM is not suitable for evaluating specific policies. Rather, it can be used to gain insight into broad classes of policies. If used inappropriately, the results can be dangerously misleading.

Copyright notice

© 2009-2012 Stockholm Environment Institute and the Center for International Forestry Research. Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License.

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Running NBIM

To run NBIM, follow these steps:

  1. Run the NBIM installer for Windows
  2. Double-click on the file “NBIM.vpa”.
  3. Wait for NBIM to open the data file in Excel.
  4. Wait for NBIM to create the Baseline output file. Note: This only happens the first time you run NBIM
  5. Click on “Go to main screen” and then click on “Run model”. Note: The first time you open this window it will load slowly.
  6. Explore different policy options and uncertainties by changing the settings and then clicking “Update”.

Once you have used the model in its basic mode, try exploring different options. Also, consider changing the data in the Excel file. (After changing the data, delete the “Baseline.vdf” file so that NBIM will rerun the baseline with your changes.) If you have any difficulties or questions, please e-mail Eric Kemp-Benedict.

Jatropha seeds

When planted along with food crops, rather than as a large monoculture, the bioenergy crop jatropha does not threaten food security. However, native woodlands are still often lost. Photo: Jeff Walker/CIFOR, Flickr.