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Techno-economic assessment framework for the chemical industry—Based on technology readiness levels

Buchner, Georg A.; Zimmermann, Arno W.; Hohgräve, Arian E.; Schomäcker, Reinhard

For profit-oriented stakeholders techno-economic assessment (TEA) is the most important basis for decisions about research, development, and deployment (RD&D). Two key challenges are, first, the rating of RD&D progress which is closely linked to data availability and, second, the selection of TEA methods that adequately fit the available data in order to achieve the best possible decision basis. Technology readiness levels (TRLs) are a popular concept for rating the maturity of RD&D according to available data. Since existing TRL scales remain unspecific to technologies, an understanding of TRL in the chemical industry is presented. TRLs are subsequently used in a framework for TEA. Cost estimation is structured (with focus on capital expenditure), and estimation methods are sorted by TRL. Appropriate profitability indicators for the assessment of economic prospects are discussed for each TRL. Static indicators are favored in earlier TRLs, while dynamic calculations are preferred for detailed forecasts later on.
Published in: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 10.1021/acs.iecr.8b01248, American Chemical Society (ACS)