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An economic assessment of potential ethanol production pathways in Ireland


  • Deverell, Rory
  • McDonnell, Kevin
  • Ward, Shane
  • Devlin, Ger


An economic assessment was conducted on five biomass-to-ethanol production pathways utilising the feedstock: wheat, triticale, sugarbeet, miscanthus and straw. The analysis includes the costs and margins for all the stakeholders along the economic chain. This analysis reveals that under current market situations in Ireland, the production of ethanol under the same tax regime as petrol makes it difficult to compete against that fuel, with tax breaks, however, it can compete against petrol. On the other hand, even under favourable tax breaks it will be difficult for indigenously produced ethanol to compete against cheaper sources of imported ethanol. Therefore, the current transport fuel market has no economic reason to consume indigenously produced ethanol made from the indigenously grown feedstock analysed at a price that reflects all the stakeholders' costs. To deliver a significant penetration of indigenous ethanol into the market would require some form of compulsory inclusion or else considerable financial supports to feedstock and ethanol producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Deverell, Rory & McDonnell, Kevin & Ward, Shane & Devlin, Ger, 2009. "An economic assessment of potential ethanol production pathways in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3993-4002, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:10:p:3993-4002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gallagher, Paul W. & Brubaker, Heather & Shapouri, Hosein, 2005. "Plant size: Capital cost relationships in the dry mill ethanol industry," ISU General Staff Papers 200506010700001442, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Matthias Busse & Franziska Jerosch, 2006. "Reform of the EU Sugar Market," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 41(2), pages 104-107, March.
    3. Rhys T. Dale & Wallce E. Tyner, 2006. "Economic and Technical Analysis of Ethanol Dry Milling: MOdel User's Manual," Working Papers 06-05, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    4. Gallagher, Paul W. & Brubaker, Heather & Shapouri, Hosein, 2005. "Plant Size: Capital Cost Relationships in the Dry Mill Ethanol Industry," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12306, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Rhys T. Dale & Wallace E. Tyner, 2006. "Economic And Technical Analysis Of Ethanol Dry Milling: Model Description," Working Papers 06-04, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Witzel, Carl-Philipp & Finger, Robert, 2016. "Economic evaluation of Miscanthus production – A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 681-696.
    2. Bocquého, G. & Jacquet, F., 2010. "The adoption of switchgrass and miscanthus by farmers: Impact of liquidity constraints and risk preferences," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2598-2607, May.

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    Ethanol Economics Lignocellulose;


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