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Content archived on 2024-04-19


Exploitable results

A study was carried out in order to identify cost effective materials to produce novel fermentation feedstocks. Usually the most "cost effective" raw material for any project will be very site specific. Therefore, the study results are presented as a global overview offering directives for other work, as well as establishing methodology for comparing composition and cost of various selected raw materials. Areas identified for future research and development may be carried further in specific European Union (EU) funded fermentation projects. The study comprised: an overview of available raw material sources ; methodology for data evaluation and an evaluation; development and demonstration projects; development of an outline spreadsheet computer model to compare specific raw materials and their sensitivity to key cost features. The following conclusions were reached. Sugar beet produces high sugar and biomass yields but at high prices related to the quota system allows excellent and guaranteed returns. However, if grown on surplus land for energy, beet production, harvest and supply options could provide biomass at attractive prices. There is also the potential for optimizing sugar processing system to reduce the overall costs of production and supply sugar/molasses enriched pulp as a 'wet' raw material for fermentation as well as animal feed. The present high market price of grain precludes it as a competitive fermentation raw material. However, whole crop cereals and cereal straws are potential biomass raw materials. There are also significant opportunities to use cereal processing residues as raw materials. The expanding maize starch industry in eastern European states may also be a burgeoning market for fermentation techniques developed in the EU for cost effective ethanol production based on hemicellulose rich stover and process by-products. Costs of production in these countries, based on large estates and low fixed costs and overheads, could be extremely attractive for bio-fuel production.

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