18-17: Economic assessment of biopolymer production in a sugarcane-based biorefinery context

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Napoleon Ballroom C-D, 3rd fl (Sheraton New Orleans)
G. Raicher1, José G. C. Gomez1, R. M. Piccoli2, M. K. Taciro1 and I. van Bussel3, (1)Departmant of Microbiology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, (2)Biotechnology, Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnologicas do Estado de São Paulo S/A, São Paulo, Brazil, (3)Human Resources, Evonik Degussa Brasil Ltda., Sao Paulo, Brazil
A biobased economy comprises an integrated analysis of what is technically viable, economically feasible and socially desirable. Brazilian sugar and alcohol mills represent a successful example of a biorefinery embryo: integrate production processes of sugar, alcohol and electrical energy and open new possibilities for 2nd generation bioethanol and high added value materials. Xylose is the second most abundant renewable source of carbon in nature and yielded as byproduct during pretreatment. Pressurizing bagasse followed by explosion causes physical separation of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.  Economic feasibility of 2nd generation bioethanol from pretreated sugarcane bagasse is prohibitive due to high cost of bagasse pretreatment. PHA’s production from xylose could make 2nd generation bioethanol feasible. Production capacities in scenarios of xylose availability after pretreating surplus sugarcane bagasse (2 thousand metric tons/y), hydrolysing all of the bagasse in the mill (15 thousand metric tons/y) or considering unlimited availability of xylose (35 thousand metric tons/y). Preliminary market analysis demonstrated demand of 28 million tons of PHA. The economic scenario analysis for each production capacity with two price levels: a premium price of R$ 9.00/Kg to mature product of R$ 4.50/Kg, based in equivalent substituted product at petrochemical industry. Product cost obtained based on production cost, depreciation of invested capital ranges from US$ 1,31 - 7,08/Kg P(3HB). Sensitivity analysis are performed based on equipment cost, process productivity and production scale. Contribution Margin, Net Operational Profit and Breakeven scenarios are presented and attractiveness of the investment compared to overall market performance and the alternative option for cogeneration.
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