Identifying biomass resources and availability
The first step in determining a bioenergy project's potential is identifying whether sufficient resources are available at a low enough price. Identifying biomass supply can be one of the most challenging aspects of developing a bioenergy project, but it's critical to its success. For example, woody biomass fuel can account for 80% or more of a bioenergy project's operating costs. For developers and financiers, uncertainty about the security or price of fuel supply may be a major obstacle to development.
Fuel supply chain
A new fuel supply chain may be needed. This depends on the scale of the project, and whether biomass is used to fuel a Biomass Conversion Facility, (BCF) on-site, for example, as part of a food-processing waste stream, or if it needs to come from elsewhere, such as from forest harvesting operations. If it needs to come from off-site sources, a project developer should look into how the biomass crop is produced, harvested, processed, stored, transported and delivered. All have cost implications for the project.
For more on bioenergy value chains, see the reports 'Biomass Energy Production in Australia' - Status, costs and opportunities for major technologies, Stucley et al, (2008) - RIRDC publication No 04/031 and ''Bioenergy from Agriculture in Victoria — The Value Chain', DPI, (2010), Turnbull et al.