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The Economics Of Biomass Collection,Transportation, And Supply To Indiana Cellulosic And Electric Utility Facilities

Listed author(s):
  • Sarah C. Brechbill


  • Wallace E. Tyner


    (Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Purdue University)

With cellulosic energy production from various forms of biomass becoming popular in renewable energy research, agricultural producers may be called upon to plant and harvest switchgrass or collect corn stover to supply such energy production to nearby facilities. Determining the entire production and transportation cost to the producer of switchgrass or corn stover and the amount available within a given distance of the plant will result in a per ton cost the plant will need to pay producers in order to be supplied with sufficient quantities of biomass. This research computes up-to-date biomass production costs using recent prices for all important cost components including seed, fertilizer and herbicide application, mowing/shredding, raking, baling, storage, handling, and transportation. The cost estimates also include nutrient replacement for corn stover. The total per ton cost for either switchgrass or corn stover is a combination of these cost components depending on whether equipment is owned or custom hired, what baling options are used, the size of the farm, and the distance that biomass must be transported. Total per ton costs for transporting biomass 30 miles range between $39 and $46 for corn stover and $57 and $63 for switchgrass. Using the county quantity data and this cost information, we then estimated biomass supply curves for three Indiana coal-fired electric utility. This supply framework can be applied to plants of any size, location, and type. Finally, we estimated the greenhouse gas emissions reduction from using biomass instead of coal for part of the utility energy and also the carbon tax required to make the biomass cost equivalent to coal.

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Paper provided by Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-03.

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Length: 72 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:pae:wpaper:08-03
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  1. Dobbins, Craig L. & Cook, Kim, 2007. "Indiana Farmland Values and Cash Rents Jump Upward," Purdue Agricultural Economics Report (PAER) 188911, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics.
  2. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2006. "The Economics of Harvesting and Transporting Corn Stover for Conversion to Fuel Ethanol: A Case Study for Minnesota," Staff Papers 14213, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  3. Tiffany, Douglas G. & Jordan, Brendan & Dietrich, Erin & Vargo-Daggett, Becca, 2006. "Energy and Chemicals from Native Grasses: Production, Transportation and Processing Technologies Considered in the Northern Great Plains," Staff Papers 13838, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  4. Lawrence D. Mapemba & Francis M. Epplin & Charles M. Taliaferro & Raymond L. Huhnke, 2007. "Biorefinery Feedstock Production on Conservation Reserve Program Land," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(2), pages 227-246.
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