Cost and Profitability Analysis of a Prospective Pennycress to Sustainable Aviation Fuel Supply Chain in Southern USA
Trejo-Pech, C., J. A. Larson, B. C. English, and T. E. Yu.  2019.  Energies, 12, no. 16: 3055.

This study evaluates biorefinery bio-oil feedstock costs at the plant gate for a prospective field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply chain. The biorefinery would supply SAF to the Nashville, Tennessee international airport. Supply chain activities include pennycress production, transporting oilseed to a crushing facility, processing of oilseed into bio-oil, and transporting bio-oil to the biorefinery. The analysis shows profit potential for economic agents in the prospective supply chain. Estimated breakeven cost (profit = 0) of growing, harvesting, and transporting oilseed to a crushing facility is 17.7 kg-1. A crushing facility can pay up to 23.8 kg-1 for pennycress oilseed during the first year of production and provide investors 12.5% annual rate of return. Therefore, a profit margin of up to 6.1 kg-1 is available for the crushing facility to induce prospective pennycress producers to supply oilseed for SAF production. However, the estimated profit margin was sensitive mainly to uncertain oilseed yields, changes in field production costs, and pennycress meal and bio-oil prices. A spatial biorefineries sitting model, the Biofuels Facility Location Analysis Modeling Endeavor, estimated that the least-cost supply chain configuration is to establish three crushing facilities located in Union City, Huntington, and Clarksville, TN, to supply bio-oil to the biorefinery, with the biorefinery sited in an industrial park about 24.14 km from the Nashville international airport aviation fuel storage. Estimated total costs of bio-oil at the biorefinery plant gate are between 83 and 109 kg-1 if crushing facility oilseed procurement costs are between 17.7 and 23.8 kg-1 for oilseed.