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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Modularized production of fuels and other value‐added products from distributed, wasted, or stranded feedstocks

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Distributed, wasted, or stranded feedstocks, when converted and upgraded into fuels, could replace about 6% of the U.S. demand for liquid fuels, which is about 25% of the net import of petroleum by the United States. We review the current state of modular approaches for conversion of these feedstocks, including the technology and economics associated with processing carbon‐containing waste and stranded, carbon‐containing gas. The wide geographic distribution of the feedstocks will require technology that can be scaled down effectively and that can be manufactured, installed, operated and monitored in ways that gain economies of mass production rather than economies of throughput scaling. This article is categorized under: Energy Research & Innovation > Science and Materials Bioenergy > Systems and Infrastructure Energy Research & Innovation > Systems and Infrastructure
Cost of batteries follows an allometric scaling law (n = 1) at larger sizes. Similar scaling is found for other devices such as heat exchangers. Prices and characteristics of the batteries were drawn from publicly available information
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Sensitivity analysis for the dependence of the scale at which stick‐built and modular technologies cross‐over
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Comparison of the cumulative enterprise costs of implementing stick‐built (solid) and modular enterprises (broken) as a function of the size of the enterprise
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Notional risk profiles for the two types of plants: Stick‐built (thick, #) and modular construction (thin, ◆): Most the risk is resolved in the first deployment for modular systems
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Comparison of the incremental costs via scaling‐ and numbering‐up
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Comparison of learning curves characteristic of stick‐built and modular facilities
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Potential stakeholders in a waste‐to‐fuel enterprise
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