(403a) All Biomass Is Local: Paying Farmers More for Cellulosic Biomass Is a Game Changer

Authors: 
Sousa, L. D., Michigan State University
Kim, S., Michigan State University
Dale, B. E., Michigan State University
Current models of cellulosic biofuel systems require that the delivered price of the cellulosic

biomass feedstock be kept low. Thus the predicted biorefinery size is relatively small, limiting potential economies of scale. However, it is actually the ultimate selling price of the biofuel that largely determines market penetration. We relaxed the constraint of low delivered feedstock price and explored the resulting effects on biofuel price, biofuel volume produced, and global warming impact (GWI). Feedstock price greatly affects the feedstock supply chains that may develop. Increased feedstock price does not affect the final ethanol selling price very much, but higher feedstock prices greatly increase the amount of ethanol produced. Farmers will supply much more cellulosic biomass at higher feedstock prices, leading to shorter transportation distances with reduced transportation costs and enabling larger biorefineries with improved economies of scale, thereby reducing the ethanol selling price.

The cellulosic feedstock supply chain systems were studied as a function of feedstock prices by

determining potential feedstock supply clusters and the maximum capacity of cellulosic biorefineries across the United States. Supply clusters were determined by minimizing costs associated with ethanol production. The analysis is based on county-level cellulosic feedstock production data projected in the US Billion-Ton Update report. Each biomass supply cluster is unique in terms of local and regional characteristics (e.g. area, feedstock types), biorefinery capacity, ethanol selling price, and GWI. Very large-scale biorefineries (â?¥20 000 dry Mg dayâ??1) may be feasible in some regions.

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