Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mark Wright


This thesis consists of uncertainty and techno-economic studies of two different biofuels production pathways (catalytic pyrolysis and gasification). The objective of this paper is to obtain a side-by-side techno-economic comparison of in situ and ex situ catalytic pyrolysis, and gasification state-of-technology and target scenarios that addresses both sensitivity and uncertainty analysis in the comparison of these four technologies.

Two journal papers have been published in Bioresource Technology and Energy Technology as the result of this study: "Techno-economic and uncertainty analysis of in situ and ex situ fast pyrolysis for biofuel production" and "Understanding uncertainty of transportation fuel production via biomass gasification and mixed alcohol synthesis".

Uncertainty analysis shows that in situ catalytic pyrolysis is expected to have a similar minimum fuel-selling price (MFSP) with ex situ catalytic pyrolysis, $4.2 per gallon and $4.27 per gallon respectively. However, in situ catalytic pyrolysis tends to have greater techno-economic risk compared to the ex situ catalytic pyrolysis scenario. The state-of-technology gasification scenario, with a MFSP of $7.02 per gallon, is expected to have a significantly higher MFSP compared to the other three scenarios (in situ, ex situ and target gasification). The target gasification scenario yields a MFSP of $4.33 per gallon, which is similar to the catalytic pyrolysis scenarios. However, the economic risk associated with the target gasification scenario is significantly lower than the pyrolysis scenarios.

Copyright Owner

Boyan Li



File Format


File Size

77 pages