There are a variety of approaches used in organizing the feasibility study effort. The approach may be shaped by the skills of people associated with the proposed project, the availability of financial resources, and the resources available from other partners in the assessment, such as economic development organizations or energy companies. Based on these and other factors the steering committee should determine the means by which to undertake the feasibility study. There are many variations of this process but the preliminary economic assessment is generally followed by the more detailed feasibility study if the initial conclusion is favorable. The next phase generally includes several specific studies that must be integrated into the final economic assessment.
Each of these studies requires a different discipline and approach.
The full project evaluation typically includes:
- Detailed technical and engineering analysis; initial environmental analysis
- Development of a business plan, including risk management
- Marketing plan development
Based on the specific skills and experience generally required for a credible ethanol plant assessment, many entities award a contract for these services.
The approach can and should directly involve project organizers, even to the extent that some information collection tasks are conducted by members of the steering committee or their designees. However, coordination and data assessment are essential during development of the study. Therefore, a contractor with no emotional attachment to the project or to a specific site will generally produce the most credible analysis.
Determine the most economically viable combination of site, technology and feedstock that, when combined with other criteria, results in optimum ethanol production economics.
A general set of criteria has been developed over more than a decade and will be implemented in our feasibility studies.