(396a) Squeezing Dollars Out of Delivered Feedstock Cost
The DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO; formerly The Biomass Program) has been focused on developing sustainable processes for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels for about 3 decades now. Up through 2012 the main liquid fuel product of interest was ethanol, which is only useful in the gasoline pool. Largely because of the ethanol blend wall, which currently constrains the use of ethanol in gasoline to about 14 or 15 BGY, BETO has turned its attention toward developing technologies to convert cellulosic and algal biomass to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels and bioproducts. Current programmatic goals are to develop technologies that can produce hydrocarbon fuels that can be blended with gasoline, diesel and jet fuels to replace the entire barrel of imported petroleum at a target price of $3/gallon of gasoline equivalent ($3/GGE). Embedded within this overall goal is another to develop and demonstrate technologies that can sustainably deliver a wide variety of cellulosic feedstocks to biorefineries at an average cost of $80/dry ton ($2011), while simultaneously meeting process-specific physical and chemical quality specifications and maintaining or improving environmental and social metrics.
No conversion process can be considered sustainable without access to an adequate supply of affordable feedstock that meets process in-feed specifications. To this end, BETO has focused attention on the feedstock logistics components of the feedstock supply chain. Logistics operations include harvest, preprocessing, transport and storage of woody and herbaceous feedstock materials, but not production costs or producer profit. Highlights from recently completed feedstock logistics projects that aimed to reduce the delivered cost of a variety of feedstock materials will be presented.