The impact on Georgia biomass for feedstock from rising input and transportation costs in 2008
Shumaker, George A.
McKissick, John C.
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The purpose of this study is to update projected costs for biomass resources produced in Georgia that could be available for producing energy. The Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development carried out an initial study in 2003 and updated the study in 2007 evaluating the potential of utilizing Georgia’s biomass resources to produce energy. Given continued interest in this area and coupled with increases in input costs, it was decided to re-evaluate the biomass prices in April 2008. Georgia has a large amount of potential biomass feedstocks available for conversion into energy. There may be in excess of 13 million tons of material that could possibly be converted each year. Estimated annual electricity use in Georgia during 2006 was about 137.2 billion kilowatt hours. If all 13 million tons of bio-mass were converted into electricity using the best technology explored in the study, it would produce about 8.6 percent of the estimated Georgia electricity use. While that is an impressive amount, the likelihood of utilizing all available bio-mass for electricity production is unlikely. The cost of delivery of the biomass to a conversion facility would require a sales price of the electricity well above the current prevailing sales prices. The properties and characteristics of each potential bio-fuel have important implications to the feasibility of individual biomass sources. In order to optimize feasibility, feedstocks must provide generators with an abundant supply at the lowest cost of delivery possible. In addition, the heat content (BTU) of feedstocks varies depending upon the type of biomass, so a high energy fuel is critical. Biomass sources also differ in ash and moisture content. This affects the energy value of biofuels, since the chemical make-up of ash generally has no energy value and the amount of water in bio-fuel affects, in a decisive manner, the available energy within every bio-fuel. This report reflects the estimated cost of biomass sources in the state. Market prices were used for any marketable biomass feedstock. For sources where a market currently does not exist the costs include production costs for energy crops. For residue sources currently without a market, the costs include all costs necessary to harvest or gather the residues into an easily transportable form and subsequent transportation within a 50 mile radius to a facility for utilization as a feedstock. These costs are current costs assuming prices in April 2008.