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Estimating unit production cost, carbon intensity, and carbon abatement cost of electricity generation from bioenergy feedstocks in Georgia, United States

Masum Md Farhad, Dwivedi Puneet, Anderson William F.
Renewable & sustainable energy reviews v.117 pp. 1-16
Arundo donax, Cenchrus purpureus, Cynodon dactylon, Miscanthus, Panicum virgatum, Pinus taeda, bio-feedstocks, bioenergy, carbon markets, corn stover, cost estimates, economic sustainability, electricity generation, energy cane, greenhouse gas emissions, marginal abatement cost, perennial grasses, production costs, wood chips, Georgia
In Georgia, the coal consumed for electricity generation alone is responsible for about 26% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Considering the availability of biomass resources in the state and advent of emerging technologies like torrefaction; the electricity derived from bioenergy feedstocks could replace coal-based electricity. We analyzed economic and environmental sustainability of electricity derived from nine feedstocks —loblolly pine, corn stover, cotton stalks, bermudagrass, switchgrass, napiergrass, giant reed, energycane, and miscanthus— over 25 years relative to coal-based electricity in Georgia. Pine chips were the least expensive ($127 MWh-1) and the least GHG intensive (145 kgCO2e MWh-1) option for generating electricity, with the lowest abatement cost (($31 MgCO2e-1). Between the two agricultural residues, cotton stalk ($39 MgCO2e-1) had a lower abatement cost than corn stover ($47 MgCO2e-1). Among perennial grasses, napiergrass had the lowest carbon abatement cost ($38 MgCO2e-1) because of its lowest unit production cost of electricity ($132 MWh-1). Other perennial grasses had comparable abatement costs, ranged between $43 and $49 MgCO2e-1. A carbon tax between $31 and $50 MgCO2e-1 can make most bioenergy feedstocks found in Georgia competitive against coal for reducing carbon emissions from the electricity sector.