The future of second-generation biofuel  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

McKinsey has a report on second generation (2G) biofuel production - The future of second-generation biomass.

The promise of the second-generation (2G) bioconversion industry is that it will transform cellulose-based, nonedible biomass and agricultural waste into clean and affordable high-value fuels or chemicals. (The first-generation, or 1G, technology converts edible biomass.) In this way, 2G could offer an alternative source both of energy and of chemical-industry inputs, which other renewable technologies cannot provide.

That is 2G’s potential, but the industry failed to deliver on this promise for almost a decade. However, there has been progress in recent years. Since the inauguration of the first commercial-scale 2G plant, in 2013, eight more have opened around the world, of which some, not surprisingly, are failing, while others are progressing. Most are in North America, two are in Brazil, and one is in Europe—all markets with mature 1G biomass industries and governments that support cellulosic ethanol.

Second-generation projects have also begun attracting interest in China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia in the form of government initiatives to coordinate action and to facilitate the establishment of a 2G ethanol market. As these trends suggest, the technology could be approaching the acceleration phase that marked the development trajectory of other industries, such as wind power, solar energy, and shale gas. In each case, growth was modest at first and then took off

At feedstock costs of $30 to $50 a ton and validated levels of technology performance, 2G production economics can compete on cost with 1G bioethanol and certain more expensive oil sources,2 particularly at locations where 2G operations can piggyback on existing 1G infrastructure, such as sugarcane bagasse feedstock or corn stover at 1G plants that already process sugarcane and corn, respectively. On a marginal-cost basis, 2G is already structurally more attractive than 1G because its running costs3 are lower.

However, there are two important risks: feedstock security (which can be addressed through forward contracts) and technology. Building new commercial-scale plants will encourage simplification and standardization, while also leading to scale efficiencies that reduce capital expenditures. As with the development of wind farms, leading players should eventually be able to offer investors turnkey operations. Government support could improve the business case substantially for some 2G plants, and there are precedents for this: Germany helped build initial capacity for solar power, as the United States did for the 1G industry.

0 comments

Post a Comment

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (614) global warming (415) solar power (388) peak oil (349) renewable energy (282) electric vehicles (238) wind power (190) ocean energy (164) csp (158) geothermal energy (144) solar thermal power (144) smart grids (140) tidal power (137) oil (136) solar pv (132) coal seam gas (131) energy storage (131) nuclear power (127) lng (116) china (115) iraq (113) geothermal power (112) green buildings (110) natural gas (110) agriculture (90) oil price (80) biofuel (78) smart meters (72) wave power (72) uk (68) electricity grid (67) coal (66) energy efficiency (64) google (58) bicycle (51) internet (51) shale gas (49) surveillance (49) big brother (48) food prices (48) thin film solar (42) tesla (41) biomimicry (40) canada (40) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) concentrating solar power (33) arctic ice (32) queensland (32) saudi arabia (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) population (30) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) exxon (22) limits to growth (22) buckminster fuller (21) distributed manufacturing (21) iraq oil law (21) coal to liquids (20) indonesia (20) lithium (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) electric bikes (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) iceland (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) lithium ion batteries (15) psychology (15) al gore (14) brazil (14) bucky fuller (14) fertiliser (14) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) big oil (11) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) tinfoil (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) antarctica (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) bolivia (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)