Determining the Cost of Producing Ethanol from Corn Starch and Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

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The mature corn-to-ethanol industry has many similarities to the emerging lignocellulose-to-ethanol industry. It is certainly possible that some of the early practitioners of this new technology will be the current corn ethanol producers. In order to begin to explore synergies between the two industries, a joint project between two agencies responsible for aiding these technologies in the Federal government was established. This joint project of the USDA-ARS and DOE/NREL looked at the two processes on a similar process design and engineering basis, and will eventually explore ways to combine them. This report describes the comparison of the processes, each producing ... continued below

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McAloon, A.; Taylor, F.; Yee, W.; Ibsen, K. & Wooley, R. October 25, 2000.

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Description

The mature corn-to-ethanol industry has many similarities to the emerging lignocellulose-to-ethanol industry. It is certainly possible that some of the early practitioners of this new technology will be the current corn ethanol producers. In order to begin to explore synergies between the two industries, a joint project between two agencies responsible for aiding these technologies in the Federal government was established. This joint project of the USDA-ARS and DOE/NREL looked at the two processes on a similar process design and engineering basis, and will eventually explore ways to combine them. This report describes the comparison of the processes, each producing 25 million annual gallons of fuel ethanol. This paper attempts to compare the two processes as mature technologies, which requires assuming that the technology improvements needed to make the lignocellulosic process commercializable are achieved, and enough plants have been built to make the design well-understood. Ass umptions about yield and design improvements possible from continued research were made for the emerging lignocellulose process. In order to compare the lignocellulose-to-ethanol process costs with the commercial corn-to-ethanol costs, it was assumed that the lignocellulose plant was an Nth generation plant, built after the industry had been sufficiently established to eliminate first-of-a-kind costs. This places the lignocellulose plant costs on a similar level with the current, established corn ethanol industry, whose costs are well known. The resulting costs of producing 25 million annual gallons of fuel ethanol from each process were determined. The figure below shows the production cost breakdown for each process. The largest cost contributor in the corn starch process is the feedstock; for the lignocellulosic process it is the capital cost, which is represented by depreciation cost on an annual basis.

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  • Other Information: PBD: 25 Oct 2000

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  • Report No.: NREL/TP-580-28893
  • Grant Number: AC36-99GO10337
  • DOI: 10.2172/766198 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 766198
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc716079

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  • October 25, 2000

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 2:22 p.m.

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McAloon, A.; Taylor, F.; Yee, W.; Ibsen, K. & Wooley, R. Determining the Cost of Producing Ethanol from Corn Starch and Lignocellulosic Feedstocks, report, October 25, 2000; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc716079/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.