2012 Volume 91 Issue 5 Pages 405-416
Bio-transportation methanol production chain, from feedstock harvest, pre-treatment (drying), to transportation to conversion plant was evaluated from energy perspective. "Economy of scale" of the methanol conversion plant versus transportation cost, which increases due to the increased average distance required to transport their increased feedstock volume, was also schematically evaluated. Since energy feedstock become available in autumn in most cases and the maximum period of time for feedstock collection is some 6 months, and the feedstock distributes in wide area and feedstock is bulky due to its low density nature, to bring feedstock to methanol conversion plant on a constant basis require well designed logistics strategy. How to handle large volume seasonal feedstock piles might be the largest issue involved in this area. It turned out that the whole operation may require up to 40% of feedstock's original energy (equivalent), and the main components of which include biomass drying for pelletization being up to 17% and drying in the methanol plant being 2 to 10%, and long distance shipment, 13 to 21%, among others. Yet still, a unit of 100 million ha of land might fuel some 180 million methanol fueled fuel cell vehicles, which is likely to be feasible in the future, even with 40% maximum total loss.