Economic assessment of solar and conventional biomass gasification technologies: Financial and policy implications under feedstock and product gas price uncertainty

Thomas A. Nickerson, Brandon J. Hathaway, Timothy M. Smith, Jane H. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four configurations of a novel solar-heated biomass gasification facility and one configuration of conventional biomass gasification are analyzed through financial and policy scenarios. The purpose of this study is to determine the potential financial position for varying configurations of a novel technology, as compared to the current state-of-the-art gasification technology. Through the use of project finance and policy scenario development, we assess the baseline breakeven syngas price (normalized against natural gas prices and based upon annual feedstock consumption), the sensitivity of major cost components for the novel facilities, and the implications of policy levers on the economic feasibility of the solar facilities. Findings show that certain solar configurations may compete with conventional facilities on a straightforward economic basis. However, with renewable energy policy levers in place the solar technologies become increasingly attractive options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Volume74
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Economics
  • Gasification
  • Policy
  • Solar

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