A COMPARATIVE TECHNO- ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF CYANOBACTERIAL AND CELLULOSIC ETHANOL
Biofuels, biochemicals and bioproducts products from cyanobacteria are gaining interest due to their high areal energy productivities of about 10 times that of palm oil and about 131 times that of soybean. The natural metabolic diversity of cyanobacteria and its ability to grow from polar to the tropical regions speaks to its potential as a feedstock for next-generation bioproducts. The engineered strains of cyanobacteria secrete the targeted end products directly from the cultivation system. This eliminates a harvesting step, which is required to transform biomass into the desired end-product. However, there is lack of a comparative techno-economic analysis of cyanobacterial and cellulosic biofuels production systems considering feedstock supply logistics and biochemical conversion process. This study addresses this research gap, and determines bottlenecks for process improvements and key factors for commercial success in the future. The process model was developed in the modeling software-SuperPro Designer. Data gathered from recent experiments and published literature was used as input to the models. In addition to ethanol production costs under base case scenario, this study presents sensitivity and uncertainty analyses for ethanol production costs with both cyanobacterial and cellulosic feedstocks. Overall, results obtained in this study could guide scientific research communities, policymakers, and biorefinery operators to develop appropriate plans, policies, and implementation strategies for these next-generation biofuels.