Technoeconomic and Life-Cycle Analysis

Bioenergy research is driven by the need to mitigate climate change, ensure future energy security, improve human and ecological health, and create domestic employment opportunities. The Technoeconomic Analysis (TEA) team conducts rigorous technoeconomic and environmental modeling during the early stages of research to help JBEI to maximize the commercial viability and positive impact of its technologies. The TEA team has modeled the cost impacts of engineered feedstocks with reduced lignin content, evaluated a variety of pretreatment configurations with novel solvents and enzyme cocktails, and maintains an online wiki-based technoeconomic model. Moving forward, researchers in the TEA team will link chemical process models with life-cycle assessment and geospatial tools to provide a more complete assessment of the economic and environmental tradeoffs along each bioenergy pathway.

Key Research Challenges

  • Screening a wide variety of potential bio-based fuels and co-products to identify potential applications, barriers or advantages to cost-effective and energy efficient production, and properties that could improve economic and environmental performance
  • Developing cutting-edge methods and tools for integrating geospatial analysis, chemical process modeling, and life-cycle assessment in a manner that allows for bottom-up simulation of advances in engineered feedstocks, deconstruction processes, and biological routes to fuels and chemicals across the whole supply chain
  • Developing methods for capturing uncertainty and sensitivity in bioenergy/bioproduct systems, including the value of risk reduction through more stress-tolerant feedstocks and stable market values for process inputs and outputs
  • Co-optimizing engineered feedstock characteristics and biorefinery process design across multiple economic, environmental, and social objective functions by incorporating logistics, storage losses/seasonality, and feedstock supply stability

Selected Projects

  • Comparison of ionic liquid pretreatment processes on the basis of cost, energy, and life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions
  • Quantifying the potential impact of engineering salt- and drought-tolerant feedstocks
  • Technoeconomic evaluation of biomass-derived methyl ketone fuels
  • Life-cycle cost and environmental impact assessment of hybrid biological/catalytic hydrocarbon fuel pathways
  • Maximizing greenhouse gas benefits of municipal solid waste-to-energy and bioproducts

Featured Media

JBEI Expert Corinne Scown explains Techno-Economic Analysis

Leaving on a Biofueled Jet Plane

Amit Gokhale and Corinne Scown were leaders of an EBI research team that developed a catalytic process for converting sugarcane biomass into a new class of aviation fuel and lubricant base oils. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

From Sugarcane to Jet Fuel

scown image june 2015

Researchers Find Sweet Source for Aviation Biofuel

_83492486_plane - getty images

What happened to biofuels?

image source The Economist

Photo: The Economist

Cost of biofuels no longer sky high


Photo: Craig Abraham

Researchers Delve into Enzyme Costs


A Wiki for the Biofuels Research Community


A Biofuels Wiki

Featured Publications

Featured Intellectual Property