Techno-Economic Analysis

Techno-Economic Analysis


Techno-economic analysis (TEA) is a powerful tool that quantifies the impact that research and development have on the economics of an integrated process. TEAs are performed to evaluate the potential economic viability of a process. Additionally, TEAs can be used to 1) identify cost drivers of an integrated design and help set specific targets/metrics that must be achieved to support an economically attractive process, 2) outline data gaps that must be addressed to understand the process economics and 3) identify specific uncertainties associated with process design or process performance that may be problematic for process scale-up. Finally, TEA can be integrated with sustainability analyses to help quantify the environmental benefits and burdens associated with the implementation of the researched technologies. The ABF has the capabilities for developing dynamic fermentation models for aerobic production (e.g. Bubble columns) for process design, scale-up/scale-down, monitoring, and control studies. Specific areas of competence include compartmental reactor models to explore mixing effects (e.g. oxygen gradients) and exploration of rate-based phenomena (e.g. mass transfer, cell kinetics). Models are developed in house with flexible of tailoring to unique process and performance attributes. Understanding technical feasibility and economic potential is critical throughout the R&D and scale-up in developing new and novel products from biomass. Our analyses span the range of steady state modeling to incorporating dynamic and temporal modeling capabilities.  

References and Additional Information: 

Biddy, M.J., Davis, R., Humbird, D., Tao, L., Dowe, N., Guarnieri, M.T., Linger, J.G., Karp, E.M., Salvachúa, D., Vardon, D.R. and Beckham, G.T., 2016. The techno-economic basis for coproduct manufacturing to enable hydrocarbon fuel production from lignocellulosic biomass. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 4(6), pp.3196-3211.

Davis, R., Tao, L., Tan, E.C.D., Biddy, M.J., Beckham, G.T., Scarlata, C., Jacobson, J., Cafferty, K., Ross, J., Lukas, J. and Knorr, D., 2013. Process design and economics for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to hydrocarbons: dilute-acid and enzymatic deconstruction of biomass to sugars and biological conversion of sugars to hydrocarbons (No. NREL/TP-5100-60223). National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory