"While there have been earlier models for analyzing the production costs of biofuels that provided invaluable guidance to research, investment and policy endeavors, they usually relied on experimentally-derived or assumed parameters to estimate process performance values," says corresponding author Blanch, the Chief Science and Technology Officer for JBEI. "As a result, these models could be used to study only a limited set of scenarios, and could not address all possible parameter choices that could be of interest to the biofuels community."
Furthermore, Blanch says, although biofuels research is a highly dynamic field, advances made by one group in the field have rarely been considered in the models developed by other groups, primarily because no avenue for such an exchange of information existed.
"Our technoeconomic model provides a common and current ground for discussion," says Klein-Marcuschamer.
In the JBEI technoeconomic model, each unit of operation in the biofuels process flow sheet has a dedicated discussion thread, making it possible for experts in different fields to collectively and publicly address issues associated with different sections of the biorefinery. To make the model interactive and dynamic, and to ensure its accuracy, parameters and assumptions will be updated in response to feedback obtained from users in the biofuels research community.
"The goal is to provide a tool that incorporates assumptions in a transparent manner, and allows comparative analyses to be made from the same starting point," says co-author Simmons, who heads JBEI's Deconstruction Division. "Our model is also designed to allow users to analyze the scenarios that are of most interest to them, and to gather meaningful information from experts across disciplines in a centralized model."
By communicating what parameters are in most need of experimental verification, the JBEI model serves to dire
|Contact: Lynn Yarris|
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory