Skip to main content

conversion

Vimmerstedt, L. J., Bush, B. W., Hsu, D. D., Inman, D. and Peterson, S. O. (2014), Maturation of biomass-to-biofuels conversion technology pathways for rapid expansion of biofuels production: a system dynamics perspective. Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref.. doi: 10.1002/bbb.1515
 
 
To explore this file download Tableau reader: http://www.tableausoftware.com/products/reader

Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Author
NREL

In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance. Actions of private investors and public programs can accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new conversion technology pathways. These investors (both private and public) will pursue a range of pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scale biorefinery investments; the most cost-effective set of investments for advancing the maturity of any given biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathway is unknown. In some cases, whether or not the pathway itself will ultimately be technically and financially successful is also unknown. This report presents results from the Biomass Scenario Model—a system dynamics model of the biomass to biofuels system—that estimate effects of investments in biorefineries at different maturity levels and operational scales. The report discusses challenges in estimating effects of such investments and explores the interaction between this deployment investment and a volumetric production incentive. Model results show that investments in demonstration and deployment have a substantial growth impact on the development of the biofuels industry. Results also show that other conditions, such as accompanying incentives, have major impacts on the effectiveness of such investments. This report does not advocate for or against investments, incentives, or policies, but analyzes simulations of their effects.

Vimmerstedt, L. and Bush, B. "Effects of Deployment Investment on the Growth of the Biofuels Industry." Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (December). NREL/TP-6A20-60802

To explore this file download Tableau reader: http://www.tableausoftware.com/products/reader

Publication Year
Email
dana.stright@nrel.gov
Contact Person
Dana Stright
Contact Organization
NREL
Bioenergy Category
Author
Laura J. Vimmerstedt , Brian W. Bush
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Production costs of bio-ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil have declined continuously over the last three decades. The aims of this study are to determine underlying reasons behind these cost reductions, and to assess whether the experience curve concept can be used to describe the development of feedstock costs and industrial production costs. The analysis was performed using average national costs data, a number of prices (as a proxy for production costs) and data on annual Brazilian production volumes. Results show that the progress ratio (PR) for feedstock costs is 0.68 and 0.81 for industrial costs (excluding feedstock costs). The experience curve of total production costs results in a PR of 0.80. Cost breakdowns of sugarcane production show that all sub-processes contributed to the total, but that increasing yields have been the main driving force. Industrial costs mainly decreased because of increasing scales of the ethanol plants. Total production costs at present are approximately 340 US$/methanol3 (16 US$/GJ). Based on the experience curves for feedstock and industrial costs, total ethanol production costs in 2020 are estimated between US$ 200 and 260/m3 (9.4–12.2 US$/GJ). We conclude that using disaggregated experience curves for feedstock and industrial processing costs provide more insights into the factors that lowered costs in the past, and allow more accurate estimations for future cost developments.

Data Source
Biomass and Bioenergy
Contact Person
M. Junginger
Author
J.D. van den Wall Bake

A dry-grind ethanol from corn process analysis is performed. After defining a complete model of the process, a pinch technology analysis is carried out to optimise energy and water demands. The so-defined base case is then discussed in terms of production costs and process profitability. A detailed sensitivity analysis on the most important process and financial variables is carried out. The possibility to adopt different alternatives for heat and power generation combined to the process is evaluated.

Data Source
Chemical Engineering Research and Design
Contact Person
Alberto Bertucco
Author
Giada Franceschin

The important key technologies required for the successful biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol have been extensively reviewed. The biological process of ethanol fuel production utilizing lignocellulose as substrate requires: (1) delignification to liberate cellulose and hemicellulose from their complex with lignin, (2) depolymerization of the carbohydrate polymers (cellulose and hemicellulose) to produce free sugars, and (3) fermentation of mixed hexose and pentose sugars to produce ethanol. The development of the feasible biological delignification process should be possible if lignin-degrading microorganisms, their ecophysiological requirements, and optimal bioreactor design are effectively coordinated. Some thermophilic anaerobes and recently-developed recombinant bacteria have advantageous features for direct microbial conversion of cellulose to ethanol, i.e. the simultaneous depolymerization of cellulosic carbohydrate polymers with ethanol production. The new fermentation technology converting xylose to ethanol needs also to be developed to make the overall conversion process more cost-effective. The bioconversion process of lignocellulosics to ethanol could be successfully developed and optimized by aggressively applying the related novel science and technologies to solve the known key problems of conversion process.

Data Source
Journal of Biotechnology
Contact Person
Jeewon Lee
Author
Jeewon Lee

The US is currently the world's largest ethanol producer. An increasing percentage is used as transportation fuel, but debates continue on its costs competitiveness and energy balance. In this study, technological development of ethanol production and resulting cost reductions are investigated by using the experience curve approach, scrutinizing costs of dry grind ethanol production over the timeframe 1980–2005. Cost reductions are differentiated between feedstock (corn) production and industrial (ethanol) processing. Corn production costs in the US have declined by 62% over 30 years, down to 100$2005/tonne in 2005, while corn production volumes almost doubled since 1975. A progress ratio (PR) of 0.55 is calculated indicating a 45% cost decline over each doubling in cumulative production. Higher corn yields and increasing farm sizes are the most important drivers behind this cost decline. Industrial processing costs of ethanol have declined by 45% since 1983, to below 130$2005/m3 in 2005 (excluding costs for corn and capital), equivalent to a PR of 0.87. Total ethanol production costs (including capital and net corn costs) have declined approximately 60% from 800$2005/m3 in the early 1980s, to 300$2005/m3 in 2005. Higher ethanol yields, lower energy use and the replacement of beverage alcohol-based production technologies have mostly contributed to this substantial cost decline. In addition, the average size of dry grind ethanol plants increased by 235% since 1990. For the future it is estimated that solely due to technological learning, production costs of ethanol may decline 28–44%, though this excludes effects of the current rising corn and fossil fuel costs. It is also concluded that experience curves are a valuable tool to describe both past and potential future cost reductions in US corn-based ethanol production.

Phone
Data Source
Energy Policy
Contact Person
W.G. Hettinga
Bioenergy Category
Author
W.G. Hettinga
Subscribe to conversion