A new report by Lux Research reveals that using cheaper feedstock, such as sugarcane straw and sugarcane bagasse, is crucial in achieving lower prices for cellulosic ethanol.
Six companies operate commercial cellulosic ethanol plants globally and the one with the lowest projected price is Brazilian company Raizen. Its price is estimated at USD 2.17 (EUR 1.98) per gallon. Abengoa’s (BME:ABG) USD-500-million cellulosic ethanol plant in the US state of Kansas, meanwhile, has the highest projected price of USD 4.55/gallon.
When comparing the two, feedstock cost emerges as the most critical variable, Lux Research said. In Raizen’s case, the plant uses the cheapest cellulosic feedstocks, with sugarcane bagasse costing USD 38 per dry tonne. Abengoa, in contrast, bet mainly on corn stover, the price of which is about USD 90/tonne.
The lead author of the Lux report, Yuan-Sheng Yu, said that the cost of the feedstock can impact the total cost for cellulosic ethanol production by 40%, so improving feedstock aggregation and lowering feedstock cost is critical for reaching cellulosic ethanol cost parity.
Raizen makes cheapest cellulosic ethanol, feedstock is key - study