Techno-Economic and Sustainability Analysis

Capability Title  Techno-economic and Sustainability Analysis
Laboratories Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Capability experts  Jennifer Dunn (ANL); Mary Biddy (NREL); and Sue Jones (PNNL)
Description  Techno-economic analysis (TEA) quantifies the impacts that R&D breakthroughs and discoveries have on the economic viability of an integrated process. TEA is a highly supportive research tool which can identify drivers and metrics to reduce the overall costs, as well as outline the lowest cost potential, of an integrated system. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) explores the key sustainability metrics critical to ensure that an underlying integrated process will be an environmentally beneficial design, which is the ultimate desired outcome when pursuing biomass-derived fuels and chemicals.
Limitations Project challenges:

  • Understand which baseline or incumbent technology to compare new technologies
  • Lack of data – can estimate using surrogate information
  • Uncertainties in process design and overall costs – evaluate impacts with sensitivity analysis
Unique aspects The integration of TEA and LCA . allows for understanding the tradeoffs and benefits of both economics and sustainability in these integrated systems. These analyses explore the wide range of separation approaches and put each technology on a consistent basis to understand drivers of costs, efficiency, raw material and energy demand, and scale-up/operating uncertainties.
Availability  The analysis team is available for consultation with industry and academic partners.
  1. Kruger, Jacob S., Nicholas S. Cleveland, Rou Yi Yeap, Tao Dong, Kelsey J. Ramirez, Nicholas J. Nagle, Andrew C. Lowell, Gregg T. Beckham, James D. McMillan, and Mary J. Biddy. “Recovery of Fuel-Precursor Lipids from Oleaginous Yeast.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (2018).
  2. Sievers, David A., James J. Lischeske, Mary J. Biddy, and Jonathan J. Stickel. “A low-cost solid–liquid separation process for enzymatically hydrolyzed corn stover slurries.” Bioresource technology 187 (2015): 37-42.
  3. Adom, F. K., Dunn, J. B. “Life cycle analysis of corn stover-derived polymer grade L-Lactic Acid and Ethyl Lactate: Greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy consumption.”  Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining.  2017  11: 258-268.
  4. Adom, F., Dunn, J. B., Han, J.,  Sather, N..  “Life-cycle fossil energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of bioderived chemicals and their conventional counterparts.”  Environmental Science and Technology, 2014, doi:10.1021/es503766e