Techno-Economic Analysis of Jet-Fuel Production from Biorefinery Waste Lignin

Rongchun Shen, Ling Tao, Bin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus Citations


Utilizing lignin feedstock along with cellulosic ethanol for the production of high-energy-density jet fuel offers a significant opportunity to enhance the overall operation efficiency, carbon conversion efficiency, economic viability, and sustainability of biofuel and chemical production. A patented catalytic process to produce lignin-substructure-based hydrocarbons in the jet-fuel range from lignin was developed. Comprehensive techno-economic analysis of this process was conducted through process simulation in this study. The discounted cash flow rate of return (DCFROR) method was used to evaluate a 2000 dry metric ton/day lignocellulosic ethanol biorefinery with the co-production of lignin jet fuel. The minimum selling price of lignin jet fuel at a 10% discount rate was estimated to be in the range of $6.35–$1.76/gal depending on the lignin and conversion rate and capacity. With a production capacity of 1.5–16.6 million gallon jet fuel per year, capital costs ranged from $38.0 to $39.4 million. On the whole, the co-production of jet fuel from lignin improved the overall economic viability of an integrated biorefinery process for corn ethanol production by raising co-product revenue from jet fuels.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)486-501
Number of pages16
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-73018


  • biomass
  • ethanol biorefinery
  • jet fuel
  • lignin
  • techno-economic analysis


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