Ethanol-to-ethylene: the economics?

This data-file captures the economics of producing bio-ethylene by dehydration of ethanol, backed up by half-a-dozen technical papers.

We estimate an ethylene price of $1,600/Tpa is required for a 10% IRR, which is almost 2x higher than a conventional ethane cracker.

In a best case scenario, costs could fall below $1,000/ton, but it requires the ability to halve capex costs and source sufficient ethanol below $1/gallon.

Be careful of lowball estimates for facility capex, as we find a very wide range of inputs across different technical papers.

Please download the data-file to stress-test our input assumptions. It is also interesting to compare the numbers with conventional ethane cracking.