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Economic evaluation of Miscanthus production – A review

Carl-Philipp Witzel and Robert Finger

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2016, vol. 53, issue C, 681-696

Abstract: This paper reviews the peer-reviewed literature dealing with the economics of Miscanthus cultivation, to identify factors influencing the adoption of Miscanthus and to reveal shortcomings in research. In total, 51 studies have been identified for this review. The majority of these publications are recent (i.e. the majority is published after 2009) and concern case studies in Europe (particularly the UK and Ireland) and North America. This review reveals that the economic viability of Miscanthus depends on largely uncertain assumptions especially concerning yields (10–48t dry matter per ha) and prices (48–134€/t dry matter) but also concerning the lifespan (10–20 years) and different cost items. A lack of established markets, high establishment costs and uncertainties, arising to a large extent from the long term commitment, are identified as major barriers to Miscanthus adoption. In addition, the level of support for Miscanthus production (e.g. via subsidies) is identified as crucial for Miscanthus profitability, but is found to be highly heterogeneous across countries. Next to diversity in agronomic and economic assumptions, also the assessment criteria and research techniques used to investigate the profitability of Miscanthus differ widely. While the net present value criterion was most frequently used, we identify a lack of approaches that account for risks and uncertainties, which seem to potentially play a critical role in the uptake of Miscanthus by farmers.

Keywords: Miscanthus; Profitability; Adoption decision; Perennial energy crop; Bioenergy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.063

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