Document Type : Original Article


1 Ahmadu Bello University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Zaria, Nigeria. Laboratoire de Chimie, ENS Lyon, l’Universite de Lyon, 69007, Lyon, France.

2 Ahmadu Bello University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Zaria, Nigeria.

3 Federal University, Mathematics & Statistics Dept., Wukari, Nigeria.

4 Covenant University, Economics & Development Studies Dept., Ota, Nigeria.

5 Federal University, Biochemistry Dept., Dutsin-ma, Nigeria.

6 Federal University of Technology, Chemistry Dept., Minna, Nigeria.

7 Ahmadu Bello University, Environmental Engineering Dept., Zaria, Nigeria


Increasing energy demand and fossil fuel dependency have increased interest in bioethanol production in recent years. The use of conventional saccharine and starchy materials for ethanol production is prohibitive as it is a threat to food security. As such, rice husk poses to be of great value, providing a means to utilize waste. This study assessed the economic viability of bioethanol production from rice husk waste, which entails capital and manufacturing cost estimation, and profitability of this process. Further cost optimization studies were carried to determine the material cost, government subsidy, and tax potential to maximize the overall financial benefit (i.e., ROI and net profit) of the bioethanol production. Findings from this study indicated that transforming rice husk into bioethanol would not be economically feasible due to negative net profit (i.e., a loss on investment) obtained from its profitability analysis. Further studies indicated that the project was susceptible to the raw material cost, subsidy, and tax rate. Result obtained from the optimization studies indicates that if the rice husk sales as low as 1.38 US$/kg, and Government introduced 25% subsidy and tax-free policy on bioethanol production, the project would yield a net worth of US$ 5 million per annum, payback period of 5.5 years, and a return on investment of 16.1%. Therefore, this study recommends introducing a subsidy and tax-waiver policy for biofuels production to encourage investors and promote cleaner fuels in emerging nations.


[1]     M. Vohra, J. Manwar, R. Manmode, S. Padgilwar, and S. Patil, “Bio-ethanol production: Feedstock and current technologies,” Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 573–584, 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.jece.2013.10.013.
[2]     P. Sivasakthivelan, P. Saranraj, and S. Sivasakthi, “Production of Ethanol by Zymomonas mobilis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae using Sunflower Head Wastes-A Comparative Study,” International Journal of Microbiological Research, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 208–216, 2014, doi: 10.5829/idosi.ijmr.2014.5.3.8476.
[3]     Y. Sun and J. Cheng, “Hydrolysis of lignocellulosic materials for ethanol production: A review,” Bioresource Technology, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 1–11, 2002, doi: 10.1016/S0960-8524(01)00212-7.
[4]     J. A. Quintero and C. A. Cardona, “Process simulation of fuel ethanol production from lignocellulosics using aspen plus,” Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol. 50, No. 10, pp. 6205–6212, 2011, doi: 10.1021/ie101767x.
[5]     O. O. Ajayi, K. R. Onifade, A. Onadeji, and T. Oyegoke, “Techno-economic Assessment of Transforming Sorghum Bagasse into Bio-ethanol Fuel in Nigeria: 1- Process Modeling, Simulation, and Cost Estimation.,” Journal of Engineering Studies and Research, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 154–164, 2020.
[6]     H. I. Abdel-Shafy and M. S. M. Mansour, “Solid waste issue: Sources, composition, disposal, recycling, and valorization,” Egyptian Journal of Petroleum, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 1275–1290, 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.ejpe.2018.07.003.
[7]     C. A. Cardona and Ó. J. Sánchez, “Fuel ethanol production: Process design trends and integration opportunities,” Bio-resource Technology, Vol. 98, No. 12, pp. 2415–2457, 2007, doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2007.01.002.
[8]     R. C. Saxena, D. K. Adhikari, and H. B. Goyal, “Biomass-based energy fuel through biochemical routes: A review,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 167–178, 2009, doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2007.07.011.
[9]     J. M. Hernández-Salas et al., “Comparative hydrolysis and fermentation of sugarcane and agave bagasse,” Bioresource Technology, Vol. 100, No. 3, pp. 1238–1245, 2009, doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2006.09.062.
[10]  C. L. Boechat, A. M. de S. Arauco, R. M. Duda, A. F. S. de Sena, M. E. L. de Souza, and A. C. C. Brito, “Solid Waste in Agricultural Soils: An Approach based on Environmental Principles, Human Health, and Food Security,” Solid Waste Management in Rural Areas, 2017, doi: 10.5772/intechopen.69701.
[11]  S. Banerjee et al., “Commercializing lignocellulosic bioethanol: technology bottlenecks and possible remedies Saumita,” Biofuels, Bioproducts and Bio-refining, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 246–256, 2012, doi: 10.1002/bbb.
[12]  S. Achinas and G. J. W. Euverink, “Consolidated briefing of biochemical ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass,” Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 23, pp. 44–53, 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.ejbt.2016.07.006.
[13]  M. Muazu, I. Rabi’u, and S. B. Issa, “Biofuels for Sustainable Development in Nigeria: A Review,” UMYU Journal Microbiology Research, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 86–92, 2020.
[14]  A. Arumugam, V. V. Malolan, and V. Ponnusami, “Contemporary Pretreatment Strategies for Bioethanol Production from Corncobs: A Comprehensive Review,” Waste and Biomass Valorization, Vol. 1, pp. 1–12, 2020, doi: 10.1007/s12649-020-00983-w.
[15]  S. SM, R. JP, M. R, and S. K. A, “A comparative study on the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass by chemical and biological methods,” Journal of Biological and Information Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 2–6, 2012.
[16]  P. Sassner, M. Galbe, and G. Zacchi, “Techno-economic evaluation of bio-ethanol production from three different lignocellulosic materials,” Biomass and Bio-energy, Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 422–430, 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2007.10.014.
[17]  C. N. Ogbonna and O. C. Eric, “Economic feasibility of on-farm fuel ethanol production from cassava tubers in rural communities,” African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 12, No. 37, pp. 5618–5626, 2013, doi: 10.5897/AJB2013.12855.
[18]  A. Abemi, T. Oyegoke, F. N. Dabai, and B. Y. Jibril, “Technical and Economic Feasibility of Transforming Molasses into Bio-ethanol in Nigeria,” in Faculty of Engineering National Engineering Conference, 2018, No. November 2018, p. 145.
[19]  T. Oyegoke and F. N. Dabai, “Techno-economic feasibility study of bioethanol production from a combined cellulose and sugar feedstock in Nigeria: 1-Modeling, Simulation and Cost Evalution,” Nigerian Journal of Technology, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 913–920, 2018, doi: 10.4314/njt.v37i4.9.
[20]  T. Oyegoke and F. Dabai, “Techno-economic feasibility study of bio-ethanol production from a combined cellulose and sugar feedstock in Nigeria: 2-economic analysis,” Nigerian Journal of Technology, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 921–926, 2018, doi: 10.4314/njt.v37i4.9.
[21]  M. D. Abbas, A. M. Falih, and K. G. M. Al-Mutawki, “A Comparative Study Between Municipal Solid Waste Management Options in Processing Stage of Al-Diwaniyah city/Iraq,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol. 1664, No. 012131, pp. 1–10, 2020.
[22]  T. Oyegoke and B. E. Jibril, “Design and Feasibility Study of a 5 MW Bio-Power Plant in Nigeria,” International Journal of Renewable Energy Research-IJRER, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 1498–1505, 2016.
[23]  G. M. Sobamowo and S. J. Ojolo, “Techno-Economic Analysis of Biomass Energy Utilization through Gasification Technology for Sustainable Energy Production and Economic Development in Nigeria,” Journal of Energy, No. Article ID 4860252, p. 16 pages, 2020.
[24]  M. M. Amirrud and M. Shahin, “Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis of Economic Feasibility of Establishing Wind Power Plant in Kerman, Iran,” Renewable Energy Research and Application, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 247–260, 2020.
[25]  B. C. Saha and M. A. Cotta, “Enzymatic saccharification and fermentation of alkaline peroxide pretreated rice hulls to ethanol,” Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 528–532, 2007, doi: 10.1016/j.enzmictec.2007.04.006.
[26]  B. C. Saha and M. A. Cotta, “Lime pre-treatment, enzymatic saccharification and fermentation of rice hulls to ethanol,” Biomass and Bio-energy, Vol. 32, No. 10, pp. 971–977, 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2008.01.014.
[27]  H. Rabemanolontsoa and S. Saka, “Comparative study on chemical composition of various biomass species,” RSC Advances, Vol. 3, No. 12, pp. 3946–3956, 2013, doi: 10.1039/c3ra22958k.
[28]  T. Oyegoke, M. Y. Sardauna, H. A. Abubakar, and E. Obadiah, “Exploration of Biomass for the Production of Bio-ethanol: ‘A Process Modeling and Simulation Study,’” Renewable Energy Research and Application, Vol. In-press, 2020.
[29]  J. O. Madu and B. O. Agboola, “Bio-ethanol production from rice-husk using diferent pretreatments and fermentation conditions,” Biotech, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2017, doi: 10.1007/s13205-017-1033-x.
[30]  R. Kaur and H. Singh, “Bio-ethanol Production from Rice-Husk using Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation and Optimization of Pre-treatment Methods,” Der Pharma Chemica, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 1–7, 2017.
[31]  W. Nachaiwie, S. Lumyong, R. P. Hon, K. Yoshioka, and C. Khanongnuch, “Potentialin bio-ethanol production from various ethanol fermenting microorganisms using rice-husk as substrate,” BIODIVERSITAS, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 320–326, 2015, doi: 10.13057/biodiv/d160229.
[32]  M. Y. Sardauna, “Comparative study of bio-ethanol production from different biomass via the use of process simulation approach,” Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Zaria, 2019.