The biorefining sector, which employs a variety of technology platforms to convert biomass feedstocks into a range of high-demand bio-based products including fuels, chemicals, power, food, and renewable oils, currently sits at the bottom of its next innovation cycle. Although conventional biorefineries are widely deployed, advanced biorefinery scale-up is currently hemmed in by high capital expenditures requirements, driven in part by persistent feedstock and technology risks. Nevertheless, according to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the outlook for biorefinery construction over the next decade is strong. Cumulative investment in new biorefineries will total $170 billion worldwide during the period from 2012 through 2022, the study concludes.
“Bolstered by emerging biofuels blending mandates, improved access to low-cost feedstocks, and a steady increase in strategic financing, the biorefinery is entering a period of renewed innovation and investment,” says senior research analyst Mackinnon Lawrence. “With the current fleet of 1,400+ conventional biorefineries now giving way to a growing number of first-of-kind advanced biorefineries seeking to prove viability at commercial-scale, the industrial biorefining sector is expected to benefit from greater integration with petroleum refining infrastructure.”
Nearly 1,800 new biorefineries will be commissioned from 2012 to 2022, according to the report. Of those, 925, or more than half, will be advanced biorefineries capable of converting non-food feedstocks into a range of end products. The global market for advanced biorefineries currently stands at $3.9 billion, or less than 5 percent of the conventional biorefinery market. With the exception of a handful of projects that have recently come online, commercial-scale facilities are still mostly under construction. Almost all global investment in biorefineries is currently focused on advanced biorefineries, according to the report.
The report, Industrial Biorefineries, provides an in-depth analysis of global biorefinery construction for conventional and advanced biomass conversion facilities, including biochemical, physical chemical, thermochemical, and hybrid pathways. The study includes in-depth assessments of leading markets and sub-regions for the deployment of biorefineries, projected market share for emerging conversion platforms, and key industry players engaged in the market. Worldwide market forecasts – segmented by region, market, and biorefinery generation – are provided through 2022 for installed capacity by volume, annual biorefinery commissions, and capital investment in new biorefinery construction. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.
Pike Research, press release, 2012-09-26.