Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

John R. Reisel

Committee Members

Rani Elhajjar, Emmanuel Wornyoh


Biomass Combustion, Corn Stover, Ethanol, Modeling, Production Process


Alternative energy sources are of prime interest for most of the nations across the world. Rising fuel prices and depleting petroleum reserves are of serious national and global concern. Bio-fuels if proved feasible for larger scale implementation could become the ideal breakthrough in easing the extensive dependence on fossil fuels and retaining the current engine technology of fossil fuels. Current methods of producing bio-fuels rely heavily on the consumption of non-renewable energy in the production process. Therefore, it is desirable to find renewable alternatives to these non-renewable energy sources.

Although bio-mass based fuels have been tested and proven to be applicable in gasoline engines, the technology must be studied and extended for implementation at a larger scale.

This study models the feasibility of corn stover as a heat source at corn ethanol plants. It states the amount of corn stover required for the necessary heat requirement and the model also considers the harvesting techniques, transportation costs, storage costs and the implementation costs.

Six ethanol plant locations were considered and evaluated for the viability of installing a biomass fired system in addition to estimating the amount of raw material needed to run the plant. The biomass systems have a decent payback period but are not being realized due to the initial costs involved and the inclination towards cellulosic ethanol. But, that is a technology of the future and there is an immediate need to sustain the biofuels industry and this can be done through using biomass as a heat source. This model can be used for different locations as a number of parameters can be changed making it very flexible. This model will aide in the development stages of the project and will need an advanced investigation if moved forward through with the project