Jump to Main Content
Scaling laws and technology development strategies for biorefineries and bioenergy plants
- Jack, Michael W.
- Bioresource technology 2009 v.100 no.24 pp. 6324-6330
- renewable energy sources, biomass, biorefining, bioenergy, distribution (economics), cost analysis
- The economies of scale of larger biorefineries or bioenergy plants compete with the diseconomies of scale of transporting geographically distributed biomass to a central location. This results in an optimum plant size that depends on the scaling parameters of the two contributions. This is a fundamental aspect of biorefineries and bioenergy plants and has important consequences for technology development as “bigger is better” is not necessarily true. In this paper we explore the consequences of these scaling effects via a simplified model of biomass transportation and plant costs. Analysis of this model suggests that there is a need for much more sophisticated technology development strategies to exploit the consequences of these scaling effects. We suggest three potential strategies in terms of the scaling parameters of the system.