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Financial performance of a mobile pyrolysis system used to produce biochar from sawmill residuesAuthor(s): Dongyeob Kim; Nathaniel McLean Anderson; Woodam Chung
Source: Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionPrimary wood products manufacturers generate significant amounts of woody biomass residues that can be used as feedstocks for distributed-scale thermochemical conversion systems that produce valuable bioenergy and bioproducts. However, private investment in these technologies is driven primarily by financial performance, which is often unknown for new technologies with limited industrial deployment. In this paper, we use shift-level production data collected during a 25-day field study to characterize the conversion rate and system productivity and costs for a commercially available pyrolysis system co-located at a sawmill, and then evaluate the net present value (NPV) of the operation in light of a cost structure that is realistic for the industry. Baseline costs on a feedstock throughput basis were estimated as $16.41 t-1 for feedstock preparation, $308.14 t-1 for conversion, and $65.99 t-1 for biochar bagging. The NPV estimated for the worst-case scenario of observed productivity and conversion rate was -$536,031 for a 10-year project period, while the best case scenario generated an NPV of $467,353. In general, NPV is highly sensitive to labor costs and biochar price, and less sensitive to fuel cost and interest rate. Results also show clear opportunities for technical and operational improvements that are expected to increase the financial viability of this system.
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CitationKim, Dongyeob; Anderson, Nathaniel McLean; Chung, Woodam. 2015. Financial performance of a mobile pyrolysis system used to produce biochar from sawmill residues. Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.
Keywordsmobile pyrolysis system, biochar, sawmill residues, wood products, woody biomass, bioenergy, bioproducts
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