Economic assessment of advanced biofuel production via gasification using cost data from the GoBiGas plant
Journal article, 2019
This paper describes an economic analysis of the GoBiGas plant, which is a first-of-its-kind industrial installation for advanced biofuel production (ABP) via gasification, in which woody biomass is converted to biomethane. A previous technical evaluation of the demonstration unit confirmed that it is technically feasible to construct advanced biofuel production plants, using commercially available and widely used components. Thus, significant cost reductions for equipment cannot be expected as a consequence of learning effects. However, the equipment itself accounted for <20% of the total investment cost at GoBiGas and there exists the potential to reduce the production cost through learning how to assemble the process and reduce project-specific costs. The analysis shows that a plant with capacity of 200 MW of biomethane is an attractive scale for future stand-alone ABP plants with respect to limiting the production cost. For a 200-MW ABP plant operated using forest residues as fuel, the production cost for biomethane is estimated at approximately 600 SEK/MWh, (60€/MWh, 75US$/MWh), which is equivalent to 5.4 SEK/liter gasoline [0.54 €/liter, or 2.5USD per gallon (9.9 SEK/€, 8 SEK/USD)], where the feedstock accounts for about 36% of the production cost. The most significant uncertainty factors pertaining to the estimated production costs are expected to relate to: trade conditions; the location of the installation; and the local price of feedstock. Thus, there is some potential for implementing cost-competitive ABP systems of smaller capacity if low-grade feedstocks (eg, waste-derived woody biomass) can be utilized, and/or if the unit can be integrated with the already existing infrastructure.