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Table 2 Modern bioenergy conversion technology summary

From: Bioenergy and African transformation

Category Products Technology
Non-biological
Combustion1 Electricity, heat Mature. Electricity generation rather capital intensive (about $1,900 - $4,300/installed kW).
Gasification2 Electricity (via gas turbines) or synthetic gasoline and diesel (e.g., Fischer-Tropsch) Limited commercial application. Often highly capital intensive (about $375/L annual capacity for coal liquefaction in South Africa).
Pyrolysis3 “Biocrude”, a mixture of liquid-phase organics Limited commercial application. $2/L annual capacity for production of naptha and diesel.
Pressing and transesterification4 Biodiesel from oil-rich crops Mature. Relatively simple, low capital ($0.33/L installed capacity for biodiesel in Europe).
Biological
Fermentation of starch and sugars Ethanol, potentially many other molecules Mature for ethanol production. Capital cost5 about $1.20/L installed capacity for ethanol with cogeneration in Brazil, about $2/L installed capacity for maize ethanol in the US.
Anaerobic digestion Methane Rather mature. Can be applied to both liquid and solid wastes. Many thousand small-scale digesters operative, particularly in China and Germany.
Lignocellulose hydrolysis and fermentation Ethanol, potentially many other molecules Not mature. Hydrolysis can be accomplished via acid or enzymes. Several fermentation options and configurations.
  1. 1Combustion capital costs: [51].
  2. 2Gasification capital costs: [52].
  3. 3Pyrolysis capital costs: [53].
  4. 4Biodiesel capital costs: [54].
  5. 5Sugarcane ethanol capital costs: [55].