Economic viability of regional biomass chains

F. van der Hilst, V. Dornburg, J.P.M. Sanders, H.W. Elbersen, B.S. Elbersen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The objective of this work is to assess the viability of regional biomass chains by comparing the economic performance of potential bioenergy cropping systems with the performance of current agricultural land uses and by comparing bioethanol production costs with petrol costs. Economic viability of biomass chains is spatial variable due to the spatial heterogeneity of the physical context. This is mapped using GIS (geographic information system). Ethanol production from Miscanthus and sugar beet in the North of the Netherlands is used as a case study to demonstrate this methodology. The results show that areas where energy crops can compete with current land use and where feedstock production costs are relatively low are the most promising locations for bioenergy crops. At these locations soils are less suitable for conventional crop rotations yet suitable for perennial energy crops. The cost of bioethanol production from domestically cultivated crops is not competitive with petrol at current oil prices levels. Bioethanol could become competitive when (increased) support for energy crops is provided for, conversion technologies improve and/or ethanol receives a (partial) excise exemption.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event17th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Hamburg, Germany -
Duration: 29 Jun 20093 Jul 2009


Conference17th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Hamburg, Germany


  • biobased economy
  • biomass
  • economic viability
  • fuel crops
  • land use
  • economic aspects
  • geographical information systems
  • bioethanol
  • netherlands
  • miscanthus
  • sugarbeet


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