This study evaluates the economic feasibility and stochastic dominance rank of eight
cellulosic biofuel production pathways (including gasification, pyrolysis, liquefaction,
and fermentation) under technological and economic uncertainty. A techno-economic
assessment based financial analysis is employed to derive net present values and breakeven
prices for each pathway. Uncertainty is investigated and incorporated into fuel prices
and techno-economic variables: capital cost, conversion technology yield, hydrogen
cost, natural gas price and feedstock cost using @Risk, a Palisade Corporation software.
The results indicate that none of the eight pathways would be profitable at expected
values under projected energy prices. Fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing (FPH) has
the lowest breakeven fuel price at 3.11$/gallon of gasoline equivalent (0.82$/liter
of gasoline equivalent). With the projected energy prices, FPH investors could expect
a 59% probability of loss. Stochastic dominance is done based on return on investment.
Most risk-averse decision makers would prefer FPH to other pathways.