A technical economic evaluation of processes for producing fuels and chemicals from biomass by thermochemical conversion and upgrading processes will be carried out. The objective is to identify the most promising technologies and to discover areas where further research and development would be valuable. Macroeconomic factors concerning social and environmental aspects will also be included.
The project will be based in part on further development of a computer model for mass balances, energy balances and economics of processes for synthesising liquid fuels. This will be reinforced with data from the new projects in the Energy from Biomass subprogramme so that more precise models and cost estimates can be produced for each of the liquid production, upgrading and utilisation processes. This will permit consistent comparisons to be made of alternative processes as well as to identify areas of greatest technical uncertainty to assist in ongoing project appraisal and orientation. This will be supported by detailed flow sheets, mass and energy balances, and cost estimates for a limited number of specific processes supported by John Brown and Constructor.
The economic analysis will be adapted by ECOTEC to take account of the full range of social, political and environmental cost benefits that can be attributed to the development of these technologies in order to provide a sounder basis for decision making. These aspects are particularly important the context of the LEBEN projects that are being considered. The outputs of the project will be a technical economic model of the processes involved in the production of liquid fuels from biomass, a technical economic assessment of the range of pyrolysis and upgrading routes for the production of liquid fuels, a thorough assessment of the total impact of these technologies projects such as LEBEN and similar activities in developing countries and recommendations on areas where further research and development would be valuable.