Submitted to: Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2007
Publication Date: 5/10/2007
Citation: Zhou, W., Widmer, W., Grohmann, K. 2007. Economic analysis of ethanol production from citrus peel waste. Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting. Abstract No. HP22. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The Florida citrus juice industry produces about 3-4 million tons of wet peel waste per year. In current industrial practices, waste peels are dried and sold as cattle feed to offset the waste disposal cost. Profitability could be greatly improved if this amount of peel can be used to produce high value co-products. Recent advances by the USDA/ARS scientists have given rise to the potential of a new process for making fuel ethanol from citrus peel waste. The production of citrus ethanol has advanced from a bench scale to a pilot plant scale (10,000 gallons/batch). Nevertheless, the development of an economically viable process could be a challenge. Although the cellulose-to-ethanol process and the peel-to-ethanol process consist of similar unit operations; the economics of the former has been studied extensively, whereas the economics of the latter has not been fully investigated. In this paper, the economics of these two processes are compared and analyzed. The economic model for the cellulose-to-ethanol process was used as a benchmark to estimate the project cost and the fixed operating cost for the peel-to-ethanol process. The breakeven cost of citrus ethanol is estimated to be approximately $1.00/gallon, equal to the breakeven cost of corn ethanol, but lower than the breakeven cost of cellulose ethanol ($1.35/gallon). This study allows us to pinpoint the economics of the process for making fuel ethanol from citrus peel waste, and is useful for predicting the cost benefit of proposed research and its economic impact on the juice industry.