According to biofuel expert Tim Castleman, hemp ethanol could be produced for 1.37 per gallon plus the cost of the feedstock, with technological improvements and tax credits reducing the price another dollar or so per gallon!
CIFAR Conference XIV, “Cracking the Nut: Bioprocessing Lignocellulose to
Renewable Products and Energy”, June 4, 2001
http://fuelandfiber.com/Hemp4NRG/Hemp4NRGRV3.htm (dead link)
Another approach will involve conversion of cellulose to ethanol, which can be done in several ways including gasification, acid hydrolysis and a technology utilizing engineered enzymes to convert cellulose to glucose, which is then fermented to make alcohol. Still another approach using enzymes will convert cellulose directly to alcohol, which leads to substantial process cost savings.
Current costs associated with these conversion processes are about $1.37[vi] per gallon of fuel produced, plus the cost of the feedstock. Of this $1.37, enzyme costs are about $0.50 per gallon; current research efforts are directed toward reduction of this amount to $0.05 per gallon. There is a Federal tax credit of $0.54 per gallon and a number of other various incentives available. Conversion rates range from a low of 25-30 gallons per ton of biomass to 100 gallons per ton using the latest technology.
© Fuel and Fiber Company, 2001, 2006