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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Co-firing from woody biomass feedstock is one of the alternatives toward increased use of renewable feedstock in existing coal power plants. However, the economic level of co-firing at a particular power plant depends on several site-specific factors. Torrefaction has been identified recently as a promising biomass pretreatment option to lead to reduction of the feedstock delivered cost, and thus facilitate an increase in the co-firing ratio. In this study, a mixed integer linear program (MILP) is developed to integrate supply chain of co-firing and torrefaction process and find the optimal level of biomass co-firing in terms of minimized transportation and logistics costs, with or without tax credits. A case study of 26 existing coal power plants in three Great Lakes States of the US is used to test the model. The results reveal that torrefaction process can lead to higher levels of co-firing, but without the tax credit, the effect is limited to the low capacity of power plants. The sensitivity analysis shows that co-firing ratio has higher sensitivity to variation in capital and operation costs of torrefaction than to the variation in the transportation and feedstock purchase costs.

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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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