BeWhere Brazil

Short description

BeWhere Brazil is a techno-economic optimization model that is developed to analyze the alternative uses of sugarcane biomass for second generation ethanol and/or bio-electricity production in Brazil, considering different technological improvements of existing sugarcane mills. The model is spatially explicit and minimizes the costs of the entire biofuel supply chain of sugarcane bio-energy systems, including sugarcane production (agricultural practices), feedstock transportation, biomass processing, and biofuel transportation. The cost of emitting the total GHG emissions (i.e. carbon tax) is internalized in the model. The study considers how the energy prices, conversion efficiency and production costs, and policy instruments such as biofuel support and carbon tax affect the choice of technology, including the export of bio-ethanol to the EU. Different scenarios are developed in finding the optimal utilization of sugarcane biomass. The competition with bio-electricity and bio-ethanol production in relation to total energy and carbon costs are simulated. The study also considers biofuel policy, mandatory volumetric targets, and GHG emissions mitigation options while considering export of Brazilian bio-ethanol to the European Union (EU).

This model is developed as part of collaboration established between the division of Energy and Climate Studies (ECS), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria.

Size and location of existing sugarcane mills in the state of Sao Paulo (SP) – a case study in Brazil.

Objective function

The objective function is to minimize the total costs (i.e. lifecycle system cost and internalized cost related to lifecycle GHG emissions). The lifecycle or supply chain cost consists of: biomass feedstock cost, investment and production costs, biomass/biofuel transportation cost, fossil fuel cost, and income from the sale of bio-electricity. The cost of lifecycle emissions include: the cost of emissions from agriculture practices, emissions from biomass/biofuel transport, emissions from plant operations, and avoided emissions from substituted fossil based transport fuel (in Brazil and the EU) and fossil based electricity. The total cost is minimized subject to a number of constraints related to biomass/feedstock supply, operation balance in production plants, biofuel trade, and energy demand.

A schematic diagram of the BeWhere Brazil model for sugarcane biorefinery. Biomass and energy flows are shown by arrow marks. Red arrow shows the additional fossil fuel needed to meet the demand.

BeWhere Brazil: a way forward

The model can be further developed for identifying the optimum size and location of the sugarcane bio-refineries for the minimization of the total system costs and carbon costs. A range of technological configurations such as stand-alone and integrated/clustered, and conversion technologies, viz. thermochemical routes can be simulated to identify suitable technological options. There is also plenty of scope for utilizing other agricultural residues, e.g. rice husk and wheat straw, in synergy with sugarcane bio-refinery for the optimal production of energy services.

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Last edited: 04 November 2015


Sylvain Leduc

Research Scholar

Agriculture Forestry and Ecosystem Services Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 267


Dilip khatiwada

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

T +46 (0)8 790 74 31

BeWhere Model

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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