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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 118; doi:10.3390/su9010118

Value Chain Structures that Define European Cellulosic Ethanol Production

1
Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
2
Department of Human Geography, Lund University, 22362 Lund, Sweden
3
NIFU Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, 0653 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 8 January 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2017 / Published: 14 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Abstract

Production of cellulosic ethanol (CE) has not yet reached the scale envisaged by the literature and industry. This study explores CE production in Europe to improve understanding of the motivations and barriers associated with this situation. To do this, we conduct a case study-based analysis of CE production plants across Europe from a global value chain (GVC) perspective. We find that most CE production plants in the EU focus largely on intellectual property and are therefore only at the pilot or demonstration scale. Crescentino, the largest CE production facility in Europe, is also more interested in technology licensing than producing ethanol. Demonstration-scale plants tend to have a larger variety of feedstocks, whereas forestry-based plants have more diversity of outputs. As scale increases, the diversity of feedstocks and outputs diminishes, and firms struggle with feedstock provisioning, global petroleum markets and higher financial risks. We argue that, to increase CE production, policies should consider value chains, promote the wider bio-economy of products and focus on economies of scope. Whereas the EU and its member states have ethanol quotas and blending targets, a more effective policy would be to seek to reduce the risks involved in financing capital projects, secure feedstock provisioning and support a diversity of end products. View Full-Text
Keywords: global value chain; biorefinery; cellulosic ethanol; bioenergy global value chain; biorefinery; cellulosic ethanol; bioenergy
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Gregg, J.S.; Bolwig, S.; Hansen, T.; Solér, O.; Ben Amer-Allam, S.; Pladevall Viladecans, J.; Klitkou, A.; Fevolden, A. Value Chain Structures that Define European Cellulosic Ethanol Production. Sustainability 2017, 9, 118.

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