Energy Sugar Beets to Biofuel: Field to Fuel Production System and Cost Estimates

Energy beets (Beta vulgaris L.) meet the requirements for advanced biofuel feedstocks under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. A mixed-integer programming model was constructed to determine the breakeven price of ethanol from energy beets, and to determine the optimal size and biorefinery location. The model, based on limited field data, evaluates Southern Plains beet production in a 3-year crop rotation, and beet harvest, transportation and processing. The optimal strategy depends critically on several assumptions including a just-in-time harvest and delivery system that remains to be tested in field trials. Based on a conversion rate of 26 gallons per wet ton and capital cost of $128 million for a 40,000,000 gallons per year biorefinery, the estimated breakeven ethanol price is $2.63 per gallon. The estimated beet delivered cost of $1.31 per gallon compares with the net corn feedstock cost ($1.17 to $1.74 per gallon in 2014). If for a mature industry, the cost to process beets was equal to the cost to process corn, the beet breakeven ethanol price would be $1.96 per gallon ($2.97 per gallon gasoline equivalent).

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q42; Q48
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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