An Economic Feasibility Study of Crop Residues as an Auxilary Fuel Source for Iowa's Coal-Fired Power Plants

The rising costs of fossil fuel have sparked interest in crop residues as an alternate, renewable energy source. The costs of crop residue for direct combustion in power plants are estimated in 1975 prices in order to evaluate the economic feasibility of this source of energy. The costs are estimated for the following three stages in the crop residue production process: farm level production costs, transportation costs, and processing and handling costs at the energy recovery level. These costs are then incorporated into an Iowa agricultural linear programming model. The programming model, for Iowa agriculture, includes costs and demands of an electric utility sector. The model, including Iowa crop production activities, is used to make solutions for several alternative scenarios. One is a base solution for comparison of the other alternatives. Energy prices are increased in another solution. Finally, one solution constrains sulfur. Under each of these scenarios crop residue replaces coal at the levels of 20, 40, and 60 percent of the 1975 BTU's consumed. Comparison of the various scenarios with the Base Run allows comparison of agricultural production costs, energy use, and net income. Estimated, also, are the direct and indirect costs of crop residues for each of the forementioned scenarios. Finally, net benefit of using crops residues is derived.

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 Record created 2018-10-15, last modified 2021-01-22

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