Uncovering the Cost of Cellulosic Ethanol Production

January 19, 2016 | State of the Market Report

With six major cellulosic ethanol projects online, there have been very few details regarding the production costs of each of these facilities and their respective technologies. For this report, we built a comprehensive cost model to project production costs of the six major cellulosic ethanol projects. We analyzed six cellulosic feedstocks - corn stover, empty fruit bunches, sugarcane bagasse, sugarcane straw, wheat straw, and wood - and three pretreatment technologies - dilute acid, steam explosion, and alkaline. We then identified key areas of improvement along the cellulosic ethanol process with the most significant impact on cellulosic ethanol production cost.

Coverage Area

  • Owning the Energy Transition

Table of Contents

  • Title page
  • Modeling the cost of cellulosic ethanol production
  • The best and worst of cellulosic ethanol
  • Putting major cellulosic ethanol projects to the test
  • Appendix

Lead Analyst

Managing Consultant, Energy


Brent Giles, Ph.D.
Victor Oh