Financial analysis of the cultivation of poplar and willow for bioenergy
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Engineering sciences. Technology
Biomass and bioenergy. - London
, p. 52-64
University of Antwerp
This paper reviews 23 studies on the financial feasibility and on the production/cultivation costs of bioenergy plantations of fast-growing poplars and willows (SRWCs), published between 1996 and 2010. We summarized and compared methods used thus far to assess the economics of SRWCs, identified the shortcomings and/or gaps of these studies, and discussed the impact of government incentives on the financial feasibility of SRWCs. The analysis showed that a reliable comparison across studies was not possible, due to the different assumptions and methods used in combination with the lack of transparency in many studies. As a consequence, reported production costs values ranged between 0.8 GJ−1 and 5 GJ−1. Moreover, the knowledge of the economics of SRWCs was limited by the low number of realized SRWC plantations. Although specific numerical results differed, it became clear that SRWCs are only financially feasible if a number of additional conditions regarding biomass price, yield and/or government support were fulfilled. In order to reduce the variability in results and to improve the comparability across studies (and countries), we suggest the use of standard calculation techniques, such as the net present value, equivalent annual value and levelized cost methods, for the assessment of the financial viability of these woody bioenergy crops.