International Scientific Journal


The subject of this paper is utilization of corn cobs as a fuel in small residential heating appliances in Serbia. The objective was to investigate the profitability of the three cob forms: whole, crushed, and pellets. Thereby, construction and re-construction option of a heating system that uses corn cobs were compared with woody and fossil fuel forms. Net present values of generated costs in the first option, as well as net present value of savings, payback period, and internal rate or return in the second, were analyzed. Assessment was conducted using BIOMASAPRO calculator with integrated approach for energy facility investments. Only utilization of whole cobs were profitable, comparing with wood logs, coal, and natural gas. In option construction, around 8700 €, 7000 €, and more than 4100 € could be thus saved after the appliance lifespan, respectively. The savings could be 7800 €, 5500 €, and more than 3600 € in option reconstruction, with payback period less than two years compared with wood logs and coal, and around 2.5 years with natural gas. Sensitivity analysis showed that utilization of whole cobs could be profitable with up to three times higher purchase price. With bank loan as a financing option for economically weaker biomass users, the scenarios though remain profitable. Subsidy of more than 40% for a heating appliance that uses crushed cobs would allow for profitable investment in comparison with wood chips. Future investigation should comprise assessment including social and environmental aspects, to conclude if corn cobs are a sustainable fuel in Serbia.
PAPER REVISED: 2020-05-28
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2020-07-16
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THERMAL SCIENCE YEAR 2021, VOLUME 25, ISSUE Issue 4, PAGES [2471 - 2482]
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© 2024 Society of Thermal Engineers of Serbia. Published by the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International licence