Document Type

Conference Proceeding


2013 ASABE Annual International Meeting

Publication Date



Kansas City, MO


As the biofuels industry expands, it is important to identify and quantize potential capital, operational, material, and utility costs, as well as possible sales prices for the biofuels and coproducts. Many industries use computer simulation programs for this function, as well as to see how using different operations can affect the overall production at the plant. The objective of this project was to determine how various operation scenarios affected capital, operational, material, and utility costs of a biodiesel biorefinery. These costs were examined using a techno-economic modeling program for a degummed soybean oil plant. It was clear after seeing economic analyses for each scenario that the price spike in soybean oil, which had the greatest impact on material costs, from 2005 to 2012, decreased the profitability of the facility by almost 250%, and that the use of a recycling loop and a decrease in the amount of glycerin streams within the process increased profitability and decreased the amount of materials needed. This study demonstrated the utility of techno-economic modeling programs for illustrating how prices and operations can determine costs and revenues of a biofuel facility. It has also provided a starting point for industries that may be considering using degummed soybean oil as a feedstock for their biorefinery.

Copyright Owner

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers




Article Location