Lignocellulosic ethanol production from woody biomass: The impact of facility siting on competitiveness
Just as temperate region pulp and paper companies need to compete with Brazilian eucalyptus pulp producers, lignocellulosic biofuel producers in North America and Europe, in the absence of protectionist trade policies, will need to be competitive with tropical and sub-tropical biofuel producers. This work sought to determine the impact of lignocellulosic ethanol biorefinery siting on economic performance and minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) for both east and west coast North American fuel markets. Facility sites included the pine-dominated Pacific Northwest Interior, the mixed deciduous forest of Ontario and New York, and the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. Feedstock scenarios included both plantation (poplar, willow, and eucalyptus, respectively) and managed forest harvest. Site specific variables in the techno-economic model included delivered feedstock cost, ethanol delivery cost, cost of capital, construction cost, labour cost, electricity revenues (and co-product credits), and taxes, insurance, and permits. Despite the long shipping distance from Brazil to North American east and west coast markets, the MESP for Brazilian-produced eucalyptus lignocellulosic ethanol, modelled at $0.74L−1, was notably lower than that of all North American-produced cases at $0.83–1.02L−1.
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