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Download Supplying Biomass to Power Plants: A Model of the Costs of Utilizing Agricultural Biomass in Cofired Power Plants
<< Return RAND TR876

Date: 8/1/2011
Type: Report
Status: Active
NETL Contact: Timothy J. Skone, P.E.
Technology Focus Area(s): Advanced Combustion Systems
Analysis Focus Area(s): GHG Mitigation
Author(s): David S. Ortiz (RAND); Eileen Hlavka; Tom LaTourrette

Product Description
U.S. power plants seek to diversify their fuel sources. Biomass energy is a renewable resource, generally with lower emissions than fossil fuels, and has a large, diverse base. To make decisions about investing in a facility that utilizes biomass, prospective users need information about infrastructure, logistics, costs, and constraints for the full biomass life cycle. The model developed in this work is designed to estimate the cost and availability of biomass energy resources from U.S. agricultural lands from the perspective of an individual power plant. It shows that small variations in crop yields can lead to substantial changes in the amount, type, and spatial distribution of land that would produce the lowest-cost biomass for an energy facility. Land and crop choices would be very sensitive to policies governing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pricing, and the model demonstrates important implications for total land area requirements for supplying biomass fuel.