Perspectives on Investment Cost Estimates for Gasification-Based Biofuel Production Systems
This study presents investment cost estimates for three different gasification based biofuel production systems producing synthetic natural gas (SNG), methanol and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) fuels. A comparison of cost estimates for similar systems presented in the scientific literature and technical reports was also made. The comparison is made on a common basis for a gasifier capacity of 480 MWth LHV biomass input. Results show that for all three fuels most of the compared estimates fall within the similar to 30 % uncertainty range of a study estimate. The Chemical Plant Cost Index (CEPCI) was used for updating cost estimates to the money value in 2012. An analysis of the impact of using alternative cost escalating indices showed that two of the most commonly used cost escalating indices, the CEPCI and CERA DCCI (downstream capital cost index), gave differences in total plant investment of as much as 30 % for long or specific updating periods. For short updating periods the difference was small. These results underline the importance of sensitivity analysis for investment costs in the analysis of profitability for 2nd generation biofuel plants.