When you look at a bigger production scale, a recent study points out, liquid fuels like diesel derived from crop residue may actually be competitive against the petroleum based fuels at the current levels of prices.
Scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology conducted a research and their preliminary analysis looked into a Biorefinery Collective of biomass-to-liquid fuels using centralized ATR or autothermal reforming and fast pyrolysis followed by synthesis using Fischer-TRopsch process. Different sizes of plants ranging from 35,000; 10,000; and 2,000 dry tonnes of biomass a day with 8 percent return, the experts found out that the sales price can go for $2.06, $2.40, and $3.30 a gallon, respectively, without taxes.
The process will involve collection of surplus biomass like crop residue and then pyrolizing this biomass into PO or pyrolysis oil, char, and NCG or noncondensable gas. The next step will be to move the PO into a processing facility so that the PO can be converted to synthesis gas via autothermal reforming and then FT synthesis to make it into a diesel fuel. These steps were tagged by the proponents as the Biorefinery Collective.
The higher density of the pyrolisis oil compared to the biomass my lower the transport cost to the ATR plant and pipeline transport can also be considered. The pyrolyzer collective will entail a number of farms in a certain location where each of the farm will send the residues of their crop to a pyrolizer in the area to convert it to pyrolysis oil.
The study sees the cost of the biomass to be the number one factor in pricing as the crude oil prices is to the current market pricing today. And they found out that effective methods of collection and delivery of the biomass will lead to lower cost.