The economic component of techno-economic analysis typically develops a performance summary for the commercially deployed technology, based on the performance data collected at that time, scaled to commercial operation. For an early-stage R&D technology, this analysis will be necessarily simplified and may focus on key performance metrics, for example, reaction yields and selectivity. For more mature technologies, the performance summary may require a complete heat and material balance, including fuel, steam, and power balances.
In addition, an estimate of the commercial plant capital and operating costs will be made. The accuracy of the cost estimate will be appropriate for the technology maturity and will not generate unwarranted detail, where insufficient basic data is available. For early-stage R&D technologies, the cost estimates may utilize knowledge of capital costs for commercial plants in similar or related industries.
For early-stage R&D technologies, single-point product pricing from published sources, and an educated estimate of the potential market size, may be sufficient to generate a commercial revenue estimate. For more mature technologies a more fundamental understanding of the product market and/or technology competitors is required, to understand what future revenue streams could be generated if the technology is ultimately deployed commercially.
The TEA should bring together the results from the technology assessment; the technology development path costs and duration, the targets for future R&D work and the risk analysis, along with the economic component (assessment), the estimated costs of production, the potential market size and profitability and make recommendations that answer specific questions, as posed in the study objectives. TEA analyses should be reviewed and updated for a specific technology, as major milestones are reached, or as significant new information becomes available.
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