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Raphael Filippelli

Master in Environmental and Resource Economics, Visiting Researcher

Raphael Filippelli

Mussel farming as a nutrient reduction measure – a case study in Limfjorden, Denmark - accepted at NAERE (https://ifro.ku.dk/english/events/nordic-annual-environmental-and-resource-economics-naere-workshop-2019/) and EAERE 2019 (http://www.eaere-conferences.org/).


I am a PhD Fellow of the Environmental Social Science research group at the Department of Environmental Sciences at Aarhus University. My background is in Economics and Environmental Economics. I have a master's degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Copenhagen and a bachelor’s degree in Economic Sciences from the University of Campinas in Brazil.

PhD project: The economics of targeted and differentiated environmental regulation: linking land and marine-based production systems.

External project related to the PhD: MuMiPro (www.mumipro.dk)

Supervisor:  Berit Hasler, Senior Researcher and Head of Unit of Environmental Social Science at the Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University.

Co-supervisors: Mette TermansenProfessor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen.

Project term: 01.09.2017 – 31.08.2020


Excess nutrients coming from fertilizer application and manure from agricultural lands constitute one of the major threats to water quality in Danish fjords, lakes, rivers and coastal areas. Agri-environmental measures such as wetlands restoration, catch crops and buffer strips are typically promoted by policymakers as ways to reduce that threat. In this context, there is growing interest in identifying environmentally effective and cost-efficient measures and overall policy designs for regulating emissions from the agricultural sector. The PhD builds on this developing field of research.

A specially interesting, novel approach is the creation of smart markets for water quality. Such markets have the potential of providing cost-effective solutions, saving money for both society and the regulated agricultural sector. Such a market can work similarly to modern electricity markets, where buyers and sellers submit nutrient permits bids to a central market manager. The central manager then uses mathematical optimization to match bids and set prices. Such system would, in theory, account for the spatial and temporal interactions that arise from the dispersed and delayed nature of diffuse pollution effects.

Furthermore, in recent years, some studies have advocated including marine measures to the pool of land-based nutrient reduction measures. In particular, it is hypothesized that mussel production, if optimized for this purpose, potentially could reduce nutrient concentration in fjords and coastal waters at a lower cost than some land-based measures. Moreover, it is proposed that mussels harvested to remove nutrients could be utilized as organic animal feed. Recent studies have shown promising results but the technology still needs further development to be competitive in the market.

The potential of mussel production to improve water quality is not included in the current policy programs. Environmental policies for agricultural emissions have generally been based on technical prescriptions and have not utilized economic instruments to encourage more cost-effective pursue of environmental objectives. In the proposed smart market framework, mussel farmers can help improve market performance by acting as “resource banks”, offering resource permits that would help balance resource allocation over time and improve the functioning of the market.


The PhD project aims to explore cost-efficient policy designs for regulating emissions from agricultural production. Of special interest is the integration of land and marine-based farmers under an overarching policy framework. The establishment of nutrient trading markets based on the innovative smart market approach has been identified as a very interesting and promising option.   


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