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[en] Production costs for commercial-sized Populus plantations were developed from a series of research programs sponsored by the US Department of Energy's Short Rotation Woody Crops Program. Populus hybrid planted on good quality agricultural sites at a density of 2,100 cuttings ha-1 was projected to yield an average of 16 ovendry metric tons of biomass per hectare per year (Mg (OD) ha-1yr-1). A discounted cash flow analysis of multiple rotations showed production costs of $17 (US) Mg-1 (OD). Site preparation and planting were 30% of this cost, with annual management and maintenance contributing another 28%. Land rent and property taxes were major expenses, representing 42% of the total
[en] During 1994 and 1995 the Electric Power Research Institute collaborated with the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in support of seven feasibility studies of integrated biomass systems. The goal of the studies was to assess the economic viability and environmental implications of each system. The products were comprehensive business plans for implementation of the proposed systems. One general conclusion from these studies is that the feasibility of any biomass power system is determined by the costs and unique characteristics intrinsic to the specific system. Because of the limited need for new electric capacity in most of the US, and the relatively low capital investment required for implementation, cofiring currently holds more appeal than any of the more advanced conversion options. Cofiring savings accrue from offsets of coal, along with SOx allowances and any available NOx or carbon credits. The closed loop tax credit authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 serves to make energy crops more nearly cost-competitive with coal and natural gas. Biomass gasification combined-cycle units give promise of economic viability after the turn of the century, and as energy crops become more cost-competitive with waste feedstocks, agricultural constituencies will become more integrally involved in the establishment of biomass energy systems. At present, corollary benefits are critical if a system is to be economically feasible. A valid no-regrets policy for global climate-change mitigation that includes near-term investments in biomass technologies should result in large payoffs over the next several decades
[en] The impact of biopower on the electric power capacity in the United States is projected to increase 5- to 10-fold by the year 2010. A number of competing technologies will likely be available that will provide a variety of advantages for the U.S. economy, from creating jobs in rural areas to increasing the demand for component manufacturing. Biopower also offers environmental advantages over conventional fossil fuel-fired power plants, particularly global climate change benefits. Feedstock type and availability, proximity to users or transmission stations, and markets for potential byproducts will influence which biomass conversion technology is selected and the scale of operation. Cofiring biomass in aging coal-fired power plants represents a near-term alternative for reducing sulfur and CO2 emissions. Producing biocrude from pyrolysis processes may be suitable for isolated feedstock supplies with high transportation costs or to supply fuel to a single large family in a centralized area. Integrated gasification/combined cycle (IGCC) systems offer high efficiencies and low capital costs. More advanced systems, including fuel cells, will offer additional opportunities for increasing the impact of biopower on the nation's power production
[en] This report summarized the results obtained in FY2017 Q3 of a collaborative effort between researchers at NREL, PNNL, and INL to develop rapid screening methods and models to predict the fact pyrolysis conversion performance of a range of biomass materials.
[en] Biomass supply is perhaps the most critical economic aspect of industrial biomass-based operations. The issues involve biomass cost, constancy of cost, assurance of supply, the right quality of biomass, and the environmental effects of growing and utilizing biomass. This has certainly been the view of the pulp and paper industry (Scott Paper, James River Corporation, Boise Cascade, Potlach, Union Camp, Aracruz, and Westvaco, personal communication). Biomass energy operations share the same concern. Since the early-to-mid 1980s, the rate of installation of new biomass energy facilities has declined (USDOE 1992). The forces causing this are: (a) falling prices of conventional fuels, (b) expiration of favorable by-back electricity, (c) more competitive biomass bidding, (d) elimination of federal tax credits, (e) increased competition for low- and zero-cost biomass, and (f) confounding local, state, and federal regulations. From the standpoint of biomass supply, competition for limited wastes and residues is beginning to change biomass procurement plans of established biomass energy facilities (Biomass Processors Association, personal communication). Pre-collected inventories must now be complemented with the active production and collection of dispersed biomass. This collection brings with it the responsibility of managing biomass on a sustainable and economic basis within environmental constraints. These developments highlight the critical role of biomass supply to the energy industry and the need for sophisticated supply planning. This paper addresses the strategic role of energy crops in developing assured feedstock supplies
[en] Biomass production for liquid fuels feedstock from systems based on warm-season perennial grasses (WSPG) offers a sustainable alternative for forage-livestock producers in Texas. Such systems also would enhance diversity and flexibility in current production systems. Research is needed to incorporate biomass production for liquid fuels, chemicals, and electrical power into current forage-livestock management systems. Our research objectives were to (i) document the potential of several WSPG in diverse Texas environments for biomass feedstock production, (ii) conduct fundamental research on morphological development of WSPG to enhance management for biomass feedstock production, (iii) examine current on-farm production systems for opportunities to incorporate biomass production, and (iv) determine feedstock quality and stability during storage
[en] The Federal Government offers a number of incentives designed specifically to promote biomass energy. These incentives include various tax credits, deductions and exemptions, as well as direct subsidy payments and grants. Additionally, equipment manufacturers and project developers may find several other tax provisions useful, including tax incentives for exporting U.S. good and engineering services, as well as incentives for the development of new technologies. This paper outlines the available incentives, and also addresses ways to coordinate the use of tax breaks with government grants and tax-free bond financing in order to maximize benefits for biomass energy projects
[en] Production costs for short rotation, intensive culture (SRIC) Populus biomass were developed from commercial-sized plantations under investigation throughout the US. Populus hybrid planted on good quality agricultural sites at a density of 850 cuttings/acre was projected to yield an average of 7 ovendry (OD) tons/acre/year. Discounted cash-flow analysis of multiple rotations showed preharvest production costs of $14/ton (OD). Harvesting and transportation expenses would increase the delivered cost to $35/ton (OD). Although this total cost compared favorably with the regional market price for aspen (Populus tremuloides), future investments in SRIC systems will require the development of biomass energy markets
[en] Meeting Co-Optima biofuel production targets will require large quantities of mobilized biomass feedstock. Mobilization is of key importance as there is an abundance of biomass resources, yet little is available for purchase, let alone at desired quantity and quality levels needed for a continuous operation, e.g., a biorefinery. Therefore Co-Optima research includes outlining a path towards feedstock production at scale by understanding routes to mobilizing large quantities of biomass feedstock. Continuing along the vertically-integrated path that pioneer cellulosic biorefineries have taken will constrain the bioenergy industry to high biomass yield areas, limiting its ability to reach biofuel production at scale. To advance the cellulosic biofuels industry, a separation between feedstock supply and conversion is necessary. Thus, in contrast to the vertically integrated supply chain, two industries are required: a feedstock industry and a conversion industry. The split is beneficial for growers and feedstock processers as they are able to sell into multiple markets. That is, depots that produce value-add feedstock intermediates that are fully fungible in both the biofuels refining and other, so-called companion markets. As the biofuel industry is currently too small to leverage significant investment in up-stream infrastructure build-up, it requires an established (companion) market to secure demand, which de-risks potential investments and makes a build-up of processing and other logistics infrastructure more likely. A common concern to this theory however is that more demand by other markets could present a disadvantage for biofuels production as resource competition may increase prices leading to reduced availability of low-cost feedstock for biorefineries. To analyze the dynamics across multiple markets vying for the same resources, particularly the potential effects on resource price and distribution, the Companion Market Model (CMM) has been developed in this task by experts in feedstock supply chain analysis, market economics, and System Dynamics from the Idaho National Laboratory and MindsEye Computing.
[en] Sweet sorghum is proving to have excellent potential as a biomass energy crop for the production of fuel alcohol and/or electricity. Its advantages include high biomass and fermentables production per unit area of land, relatively low input requirements, and good suitability to a variety of California growing conditions. Average biomass yield for twelve projects involving nine growers, and eight cultivars was 7.6 bone dry tons per acre (bdt/ac) (17 t/ha) at an average cost of production of $58/bdt ($64/t), ready for harvest. With an ethanol yield of 89 gal/bdt (371 L/t), feed stock costs would be about $0.65/gal ($0.17/L). Improved crop yields at reduced costs can be expected in the future. Kenaf is a potential paper pulp and fiber feed stock which produces a long bast fiber and a short- fiber core material. About 30% of the stem material is long fiber, and the remaining 70% is short fiber. The current cost of production, given demonstration project yields of 4 bdt/ac (9t/ha) is about $222/bdt ($245/t), and available higher-value uses command prices of $300/bdt ($330/t) for long fiber for cordage and $160/bdt ($175/t) for core material as poultry litter, precluding its use directly as an energy feed stock. However, reusing the poultry litter core material for energy production may be economically feasible. This material may be obtained for about $15/bdt ($17/t), and with an ethanol yield of 34 ga/bdt (142 L/t), feed stock cost may be about $0.44/gal ($0.12/L)