Comparative analysis of key technologies for cellulosic ethanol production from Brazilian sugarcane bagasse at a commercial scale

Anuj Kumar Chandel, Juliana Queiroz Albarelli, Diego T. Santos, Shishir Ps. Chundawat, Munish Puri, Maria Angela A. Meireles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Biorefineries can upgrade waste lignocellulosic biomass (LB) into soluble (C5 and C6) sugars that can be fermented into second-generation (2G) ethanol-based biofuels and a range of valuable byproducts derived from lignin. Research advances made in various laboratories worldwide have not been easy to translate into large-scale operations. Here, we performed a simple economic analysis of cellulosic ethanol production from a stand-alone 100ton dry sugarcane bagasse per day process, from a Brazilian market perspective, based on current state-of-the-art biorefinery process technologies. Economic analysis reveals that the cost of manufacturing (COM) of 2G ethanol in an annexed Brazilian facility is close to USD 1.33 L−1. Fixed and variable costs contributed 57% and 24% in COM of 2G ethanol with a high payback period of ~31 years and a negative net present value (NPV). Further cost reduction can be realized by continuous R&D efforts aiming for innovation in new processing paradigms for cellulosic biorefineries. The key market players (Poet-DSM, DuPont, Abengoa, Beta Renewables, Raizen, Granbio, Praj, etc.) and other new emerging players (Global Yeast, Taurus Energy, Leaf, Mascoma-Lallemand) working on ethanologen development, and cellulase producers (Novozyme, Metgen), should also develop partnerships / joint ventures to establish a sustainable business model to develop cost-competitive 2G ethanol production from bagasse in Brazil. This paper presents additional commentary and analysis with pertinent information about the commercialization of integrated 2G ethanol biorefineries processing sugarcane bagasse, from a Brazilian perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1014
Number of pages21
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019


  • biorefinery
  • cellulosic ethanol
  • commercialization
  • economic analysis
  • enzymatic hydrolysis
  • pretreatment
  • scale up


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