Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Economic assessment of selected bioenergy chains

Cost analysis of agricultural production.
The economic evaluation of agricultural production is tracing all costs incurred in the field, by agricultural activity of energy crops. The economic analysis of biomass production has been greatly assisted and standardised by the Bioenergy Economic Evaluation (BEE) computerised model, which was developed within the project for this purpose. The economic analysis of agricultural production covers all cultural practises before biomass harvesting.

For this analysis two basic scenarios were made. The first scenario covers the production of every crop as a monoculture.

The result of this analysis is the cost of production for every crop in each country
(i) Per cultivated hectare and per tonne,
(ii) Per agricultural operation and per production factor/input.

This part also covers the economic comparison between energy and selected conventional crops that estimates for each case the break even price of energy crops that makes their production economically viable for the farmer.

The second scenario covers the joint production of (i) all four crops and (ii) a mixture of Arundo, Miscanthus and Switchgrass. The cultivation of more than one crop is in general more costly.

However, due to reduction of storage needs, possible increase in the use of agricultural equipment and more efficient operation of the transformation plant during the year, it may be preferable in some cases.

Harvesting, Storage and Transport cost analysis Energy crops can be harvested and transported in different ways and forms.

For this study five forms were considered:
- Pellets,
- Bundles,
- Bales,
- Billets and
- Chips.

Economic analysis of harvesting storage and transport was performed for every crop and every form in each country. The most cost effective form was selected for more detailed analysis.

Due to economies of scale, three basic scales were analysed:
- Small scale: 4,000 tonnes of dry biomass for 3 km average distance
- Medium scale: 15,000 tonnes of dry biomass for 6 km average distance
- Large scale: 50,000 tonnes of dry biomass for 10 km average distance
Equal quantities of each crop in each case were assumed.

This analysis was also performed for (i) single crop and (ii) combination of crops, as mentioned before.

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Reported by

Agricultural University of Athens
Iera Odos 75, Botanikos
11855 Athens
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