“Low cost feedstock” is a common expression in the emerging bioeconomy. Years ago, restaurants paid to ship out the waste cooking oils and greases. Today those restaurants sell these wastes and greases to the markets. So, what are low profit feedstocks? Is a waste material that is sold really “waste”, especially in light of the fact that wastes can change to become some product and not merely waste. What profits exist in low value feedstocks and are those profits too low to reflect much value?
The first DOE Billion Ton Study (BTS) showed that over 1 billion tons of biomass was available in 2005 and that it could displace 30% of the petroleum used for fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. In 2011, the Billion Ton Update (BT2) qualified these volumes with “economic availability”, indicating that there were existing markets for some of the BTS biomass that otherwise sold into higher value markets. This economic availability acknowledged that the magical target price of $60 per ton excluded some biomass that commanded higher prices. Finally the 2016 Update focused on pathways in the context of economic availability with the general recognition that many feedstocks and materials fit into existing markets. As an example, “wastes” from many timber mills and sawmills supply the pulp mills. Thus, residues often seemed the ideal target for the bioeconomy uses.
We hope that the next Billion Ton Report will look towards the Profit & Loss (P&L) expected by those entities providing the biomass to the markets, something missing in previous reports. When one says that the ideal transaction price will be $60 for a dry ton at the farmgate for agriculture, or at the roadside for forestry biomass, the missed proposition is what the vendor’s profit or loss will be at that price?
Large renewable energy and biochemical consulting firms certainly have experts in feedstocks, biofuels and renewable fuels, and the more common areas like biomaterials, biomass and biomass power, and biotechnologies. In these larger consulting groups, one will also find expertise in other biofuels like algae biofuels, aviation/biojet fuels, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, advanced biofuels, biodiesel, renewable diesel, renewable natural gas, renewable and biochemicals, biogas, syngas, biochar, bio coals, biobutanol, pyrolysis oil, and producer gas, wood pellets. Lee Enterprises Consulting is the world’s premier bioeconomy consulting group, with over 100 highly qualified experts serving in all these areas. Take a look at our experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For the larger projects, we specialize in putting together full service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.