The costs of sugar production from different feedstocks and processing technologies

Ming Hsun Cheng, Haibo Huang, Bruce S. Dien, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sugar production is essential for the production of foods, biochemicals, and biofuels via biochemical or catalytic routes. Sugar-containing crops, and starch-based and cellulosic feedstocks are resources for sugar production via juice extraction, starch saccharification, and pretreatment and hydrolysis, respectively. Technologies have been developed to attain a high sugar yield; however, production costs are a major consideration in commercializing newly developed approaches to the production of sugars. In this review, the fixed capital and production costs of sugar produced from first- and second-generation crops are summarized. As expected, first-generation crops provide the lowest fixed capital costs, ranging from 0.01 to 0.13 $ kg −1 feedstock, and have production costs ranging from 0.22 to 0.55 $ kg −1 sugar. For cellulosic crops, because of their recalcitrant structure and complex processing, the fixed capital and production costs are higher, ranging from 0.02 to 1.10 $ kg −1 feedstock and 0.10 to 3.37 $ kg −1 sugar, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-739
Number of pages17
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • cellulosic feedstocks
  • fixed capital cost
  • production cost
  • starch-based feedstocks
  • sugar production
  • sugar-containing crops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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