Banagrass is a biomass crop candidate for ethanol production in the State of Hawaii. This study examines: (i) whether enough banagrass can be produced to meet Hawaii’s renewable fuel target of 20% highway fuel demand produced with renewable sources by 2020 and (ii) at what cost. This study proposes to locate suitable land areas for banagrass production and ethanol processing, focusing on the two largest islands in the state of Hawaii—Hawaii and Maui. The results suggest that the 20% target is not achievable by using all suitable land resources for banagrass production on both Hawaii and Maui. A total of about 74,224,160 gallons, accounting for 16.04% of the state’s highway fuel demand, can be potentially produced at a cost of $6.28/gallon. Lower ethanol cost is found when using a smaller production scale. The lowest cost of $3.31/gallon is found at a production processing capacity of about 9 million gallons per year (MGY), which meets about 2% of state demand. This cost is still higher than the average imported ethanol price of $3/gallon. Sensitivity analysis finds that it is possible to produce banagrass-based ethanol on Hawaii Island at a cost below the average imported ethanol price if banagrass yield increases of at least 35.56%.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited