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    Description

    As a result of widespread mortality from beetle infestation in the forests of the western United States, there are substantial stocks of biomass suitable as a feedstock for energy production. This study explored the financial viability of four production pathway scenarios for the conversion of beetle-killed pine to bioenergy and bioproducts in the Rocky Mountains. Monte Carlo simulation using data obtained from planned and existing projects was used to account for uncertainty in key technoeconomic variables and to provide distributions of project net present value (NPV), as well as for sensitivity analysis of key economic and production variables. Over a 20-year project period, results for base case scenarios reveal mean NPV ranging from a low of -$8.3 million for electric power production to a high of $76.0 million for liquid biofuel with a biochar co-product. However, under simulation, all scenarios had conditions resulting in both positive and negative NPV. NPV ranged from -$74.5 million to $51.4 million for electric power, and from -$21.6 million to $246.3 million for liquid biofuels. The potential effects of economic trends and public policies that aim to promote renewable energy and biomass utilization are discussed for each production pathway. Because the factors that most strongly affect financial viability differ across projects, the likely effects of particular types of policies are also shown to vary substantially.

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    Citation

    Campbell, Robert M.; Anderson, Nathaniel M.; Daugaard, Daren E.; Naughton, Helen T. 2018. Technoeconomic and policy drivers of project performance for bioenergy alternatives using biomass from beetle-killed trees. Energies. 11(2): 293.

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    Keywords

    technoeconomic analysis, beetle kill, woody biomass, bioenergy, biofuels

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/55669