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Life cycle cost of ethanol production from cassava in Thailand


  • Sorapipatana, Chumnong
  • Yoosin, Suthamma


To increase the security of energy supply, lessen dependence on crude oil import and buffer against the impacts of large change in crude oil prices, the Thai government initiated and officially announced the national ethanol fuel program in year 2000. Since then, domestic ethanol demand has grown rapidly. Presently, all commercial ethanol in Thailand is produced from molasses as Thai law prohibits producing it from sugar cane directly. This is likely to limit ethanol supply in the near future. One possible solution is to supply more ethanol from cassava which is widely cultivated in this country. However, its production cost has not yet been known for certain. The objective of this study is to estimate the life cycle cost of ethanol production from cassava and to assess its economic competitiveness with gasoline in the Thai fuel market. Based on the record of cassava prices during the years 2002-2005, it was found that using it as feedstock would share more than 50% of the ethanol from cassava total production cost. It was also found that a bio-ethanol plant, with a capacity of 150,000Â l/day, can produce ethanol from cassava in a range of ex-factory costs from 16.42 to 20.83Â baht/l of gasoline equivalent (excluding all taxes), with an average cost of 18.15Â baht/l of gasoline equivalent (41, 52 and 45Â USÂ cents/l gasoline equivalent respectively, based on 2005 exchange rate). In the same years, the range of 95-octane gasoline prices in Thailand varied from 6.18Â baht to 20.86Â baht/l, with an average price of 11.50Â baht/l (15, 52 and 29Â USÂ cents/l respectively, based on 2005 exchange rate) which were much cheaper than the costs of ethanol made from cassava. Thus, we conclude that under the scenario of low to normal crude oil price, ethanol from cassava is not competitive with gasoline. The gasoline price has to rise consistently above 18.15Â baht (45Â USÂ cents)/l before ethanol made from cassava can be commercially competitive with gasoline.

Suggested Citation

  • Sorapipatana, Chumnong & Yoosin, Suthamma, 2011. "Life cycle cost of ethanol production from cassava in Thailand," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 1343-1349, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:15:y:2011:i:2:p:1343-1349

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu, L.D. & Hiltunen, E. & Antila, E. & Zhong, J.J. & Yuan, Z.H. & Wang, Z.M., 2014. "Microalgal biofuels: Flexible bioenergies for sustainable development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 1035-1046.
    2. Sánchez, Antonio Santos & Silva, Yuri Lopes & Kalid, Ricardo Araújo & Cohim, Eduardo & Torres, Ednildo Andrade, 2017. "Waste bio-refineries for the cassava starch industry: New trends and review of alternatives," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1265-1275.
    3. Mohammadnejad, M. & Ghazvini, M. & Mahlia, T.M.I. & Andriyana, A., 2011. "A review on energy scenario and sustainable energy in Iran," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 4652-4658.
    4. Awad, Omar I. & Ali, Obed M. & Mamat, Rizalman & Abdullah, A.A. & Najafi, G. & Kamarulzaman, M.K. & Yusri, I.M. & Noor, M.M., 2017. "Using fusel oil as a blend in gasoline to improve SI engine efficiencies: A comprehensive review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1232-1242.
    5. Masum, B.M. & Masjuki, H.H. & Kalam, M.A. & Rizwanul Fattah, I.M. & Palash, S.M. & Abedin, M.J., 2013. "Effect of ethanol–gasoline blend on NOx emission in SI engine," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 209-222.
    6. Ishola, Mofoluwake M. & Brandberg, Tomas & Sanni, Sikiru A. & Taherzadeh, Mohammad J., 2013. "Biofuels in Nigeria: A critical and strategic evaluation," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 554-560.
    7. Arora, Richa & Behera, Shuvashish & Kumar, Sachin, 2015. "Bioprospecting thermophilic/thermotolerant microbes for production of lignocellulosic ethanol: A future perspective," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 699-717.


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