Inputs for Biogas Economic Assessment
Gloy, Brent A.
The following worksheets itemize the inputs that you will need to conduct an economic assessment of your biogas project. The inputs are designed for use with two Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The spreadsheets are available on the Cornell Manure Management website: www.manuremanagement.cornell.edu/ and the Cornell Program on Agriculture and Small Business Finance website: www.agfinance.aem.cornell.edu/. The inputs are used to create pro-forma financial statements for the biogas project and conduct a discounted cash flow analysis of the project. A basic understanding of financial concepts is required to understand and interpret the outputs of the spreadsheets. These tools should only be used for an initial analysis of a biogas project. A more thorough analysis is required to establish the expected profitability of the project. Two tools have been developed. The first tool is designed for use with FarmWare 3.1 which was developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and available for free download at: www.epa.gov/agstar/resources/handbook.html. This analysis uses the outputs of FarmWare 3.1 to conduct a financial analysis. This worksheet does not guide the user through the inputs required to conduct a FarmWare assessment. The second tool allows the user to input more detailed information about their specific anaerobic digestion project. The tool requires that the user possess information about the capital and operating costs for the project. It utilizes a variety of assumptions to create estimates of the biogas and electrical generation potential of the project. Users should carefully consider the validity of the assumptions utilized in the assessment before making investment decisions. In other words, these tools should be used with caution and no warranty is made regarding the validity of outputs obtained and decisions made based upon the model. The assessment does not consider the impact of any taxes that may be generated or saved by the project. These values may significantly alter the profitability of the project. The spreadsheets do not currently consider inflation or allow for changing prices over time. These assumptions can be modified with modest alterations to the spreadsheets. In both spreadsheets users should be careful to enter parameter values that correspond to the units listed in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will not identify inappropriate units or entries that are unrealistic.