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Ethanol production from energy crops and wastes for use as a transport fuel in Ireland


  • Murphy, J.D.
  • McCarthy, K.


The Biofuels Directive places an onus on EU member states to ensure biofuels are available on their markets. This paper investigates the use of ethanol derived from biomass type 1 (residues and wastes) and biomass type 2 (energy crops). The technology involved in generating ethanol from energy crops is mature; the same cannot be said for generation of ethanol from residues; many proposals are mooted to generate ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass, but they are not at a commercial scale. Literature is available however on expected yields and economics of ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. This paper investigates three options which produce ethanol: 50 million Lpa of ethanol from sugar beet, 50 million Lpa of ethanol from waste paper and 200 million Lpa of ethanol from waste paper. The economics of ethanol production from sugar beet were the worst of the three due to the requirement to buy the sugar beet. Economies of scale are significant: larger plants produce cheaper ethanol. Indeed it was found that for the large plant, the production cost was zero if a gate fee of [euro]100/t was charged for waste paper. The three options were applied to Ireland. It was found that an investment in an ethanol industry of [euro]561 million would produce 5.7% of the energy value of petrol and diesel in Ireland; the reference value for the minimum portion of biofuels placed on the market in 2010 is 5.75%. The greenhouse-gas savings would equate to 18% of the 1990 transport emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Murphy, J.D. & McCarthy, K., 2005. "Ethanol production from energy crops and wastes for use as a transport fuel in Ireland," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 148-166, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:82:y:2005:i:2:p:148-166

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kramer, Klaas Jan & Moll, Henri C. & Nonhebel, Sanderine & Wilting, Harry C., 1999. "Greenhouse gas emissions related to Dutch food consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 203-216, April.
    2. Murphy, J. D. & McKeogh, E. & Kiely, G., 2004. "Technical/economic/environmental analysis of biogas utilisation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(4), pages 407-427, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thamsiriroj, T. & Murphy, J.D., 2011. "The impact of the life cycle analysis methodology on whether biodiesel produced from residues can meet the EU sustainability criteria for biofuel facilities constructed after 2017," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 50-63.
    2. Zhou, Wei & Yang, Hongxing & Rissanen, Markku & Nygren, Bertil & Yan, Jinyue, 2012. "Decrease of energy demand for bioethanol-based polygeneration system through case study," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 305-311.
    3. Thamsiriroj, T. & Murphy, J.D., 2009. "Is it better to import palm oil from Thailand to produce biodiesel in Ireland than to produce biodiesel from indigenous Irish rape seed?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(5), pages 595-604, May.
    4. Power, N. & Murphy, J.D. & McKeogh, E., 2008. "What crop rotation will provide optimal first-generation ethanol production in Ireland, from technical and economic perspectives?," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1444-1454.
    5. Osmani, Atif & Zhang, Jun, 2013. "Stochastic optimization of a multi-feedstock lignocellulosic-based bioethanol supply chain under multiple uncertainties," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 157-172.
    6. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:1:p:198-:d:126931 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. He, Jie & Zhang, Wennan, 2011. "Techno-economic evaluation of thermo-chemical biomass-to-ethanol," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(4), pages 1224-1232, April.
    8. Djuric Ilic, Danica & Dotzauer, Erik & Trygg, Louise, 2012. "District heating and ethanol production through polygeneration in Stockholm," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 214-221.
    9. Md. I. Haque & Stelios Rozakis & A. Natsis & M. Borzecka-Walker & K. Mizak, 2011. "Cost effectiveness of bio-ethanol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Greece," Working Papers 2011-3, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
    10. Sorguven, Esra & Özilgen, Mustafa, 2010. "Thermodynamic assessment of algal biodiesel utilization," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1956-1966.
    11. Zhang, Jun & Osmani, Atif & Awudu, Iddrisu & Gonela, Vinay, 2013. "An integrated optimization model for switchgrass-based bioethanol supply chain," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 1205-1217.
    12. Anukam, Anthony & Mamphweli, Sampson & Reddy, Prashant & Meyer, Edson & Okoh, Omobola, 2016. "Pre-processing of sugarcane bagasse for gasification in a downdraft biomass gasifier system: A comprehensive review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 775-801.
    13. Styles, David & Jones, Michael B., 2008. "Miscanthus and willow heat production--An effective land-use strategy for greenhouse gas emission avoidance in Ireland?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 97-107, January.
    14. Atsonios, Konstantinos & Kougioumtzis, Michael-Alexander & D. Panopoulos, Kyriakos & Kakaras, Emmanuel, 2015. "Alternative thermochemical routes for aviation biofuels via alcohols synthesis: Process modeling, techno-economic assessment and comparison," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 346-366.
    15. Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto & Delgado, Fernanda, 2007. "Can one say ethanol is a real threat to gasoline?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5411-5421, November.
    16. Behera, Shuvashish & Kar, Shaktimay & Mohanty, Rama Chandra & Ray, Ramesh Chandra, 2010. "Comparative study of bio-ethanol production from mahula (Madhuca latifolia L.) flowers by Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells immobilized in agar agar and Ca-alginate matrices," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 96-100, January.


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