As new renewable technologies emerge and seek funding and industry acceptance, it is imperative that investors, lenders, and all project participants engage experienced professionals to help analyze the technical and economic aspects of these new technologies and projects. Put very simply, technology analysis is the process of determining the new technology’s strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities it provides, and the threats posed by its use. This SWOT analysis, together with a full comparative analysis of the technology against alternatives is crucial to the success of projects using any new technology.
As in many other industries, the techno-economic assessment (sometimes called techno-economic analysis, or TEA) is one tool used often in evaluating renewable technologies and assisting decision-makers on the worth of investing time and money in the development, deployment, and/or acquisition of a specific technology. As the name implies, a TEA assesses the maturity of the studied technology, as well as its potential future economic viability. As with most analyses, a critical first step is a definition and agreement on the scope and objectives of the assessment. The scope of the TEA will be dependent on the reason the TEA is being conducted. If the TEA is being conducted on an early-stage R&D technology, the assessment will consider economic profitability and market analysis, in a less exhaustive manner and delve into more of the data from the R&D efforts, in an attempt to provide guidance on the required future directions and targets for the on-going R&D. If the TEA is being conducted on a successfully demonstrated technology, for the purposes of a potential acquisition, the analysis will review the technology development also, but will expend more effort attempting to understand the key capital and operating costs, product markets and the project pipeline.
The technology assessment component of the TEA will typically include a quantitative assessment of the technology maturity, via assignment of a technology readiness level or TRL. In addition, the assessment will typically review the technology development history, technology strengths, weaknesses, and associated risks and will consider the potential development path(s) to get to successful commercial deployment of the technology.
Among its 150+ experts, Lee Enterprises Consulting has a wide range of services in bioenergy, biomaterials and chemicals, biotechnologies, and feedstocks. We certainly have specialists in the techno-economic assessment of many types of technologies, including anaerobic digestion, biomass technologies, fermentation, gasification, catalysis, torrefaction, pyrolysis, carbonization, bioreactors, renewable hydrogen & renewable natural gas technologies, carbon capture & storage, waste to energy technologies, wastewater and water treatment, gas-to liquids, hydrothermal and thermochemical conversions, syngas generation, bioplastics/polymers, fluidization, Fischer-Tropsch, direct combustion and power generation technologies, bio-fabricated proteins, synthetic biology, nutraceuticals, food products technology, aquaculture, and many other types of emerging technologies in the chemical, renewable/cleantech, and synthetic biology sectors.
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