Biomass Costs

While there is no generic formula for calculating the cost of biomass – there are factors to be considered that are individual to each project – there are some general observations we can share.

The cost per MW electricity generated from biomass is currently still higher than compared to wind energy. So, when it is possible for a given location to alternatively decide upon wind or biomass, at first sight wind would beat biomass.

But as with many things, it is worthwhile digging a bit deeper. Wind farms do not produce usable heat, which is an argument in favor of biomass power plants. The co-generation of electricity and heat is very viable for

  • composting sites
  • cooling (transforming the heat)
  • greenhouses
  • municipal buildings like schools, hospitals, government facilities, nursing homse
  • hotels
  • manufacturing and industrial processing plants
  • mining and oil fields
  • and other scenarioes

Also, biomass plants in general and dry fermentation specifically come to play in situations of an abundance of organic waste, which is costly to dispose of otherwise. And even growing suitable biomass plants makes economic sense in areas where neither sufficient wind or solar energy are available.

Thus, once a few basic facts are settled the equation becomes quite simple.  Checking with your local agricultural or municipal suppliers is the easiest way to start.  Once you have the price of what inputs are available, estimating the cost of the biogas yield per unit for each input can then be established.

The estimated cost of raw materials is one of the first steps that needs to be undertaken when assessing the financial viability of your project. In addition, factors like transportation, handling, and the economic value of Dry Fermentation output biomass must be analyzed.