An initial assessment of ethanol production economics and project viability in a specific area should be based on several factors. The assessment is not intended to be a feasibility study but rather an initial indicator of whether the proposed project is practical from an economic perspective. The project team should ask the question: Can a well designed, well built and well run ethanol plant located in this area make money and provide a competitive return to owners and operators? This question forces project developers to evaluate objectives and analyze available resources. This process also provides an opportunity to evaluate alternatives.
Undertaking this initial assessment will help provide justification to proceed with a more detailed and costly technical and engineering analysis, if warranted. The later analysis will also help determine optimum sites and other factors that refine the economic outlook should the project proceed.