University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Speaker will discuss ethanol, coal power plants Nov. 6

Douglas G. Tiffany, assistant extension professor, University of Minnesota, will discuss "Economics of Torrefaction Plants with Integrated Ethanol and Coal Power Plants" at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in 220 Clifford. Refreshments will be served.

Doug Tiffany has worked on energy-related production economics topics, including biofuels, wind power, biomass power and the energy requirements of agricultural production. Collaborating with others, he has estimated the economics of using biodiesel to reduce emissions in underground mines, biodiesel production economics, ethanol plant economics, the grain flow patterns of Minnesota, and impacts of the Kyoto Accord on Midwestern agriculture.

Torrefaction technologies convert assorted biomass feedstocks into energy-concentrated, carbon neutral fuel that is economically transported and easily ground for blending with fossil coals at numerous power plants around the world without needs to retrofit. Utilization of torrefied biomass in conventional electric generating units may be an increasingly attractive alternative for electricity generation as aging power plants in the world need to be upgraded or improved. The project examines the economic feasibility of torrefaction in different scenarios by modeling torrefaction plants producing biocoal from wood and corn stover. The utilization of biocoal blends in existing coal-fired power plants is modeled to determine the demand for this fuel in the context of emerging policies regulating emissions from coal in the U.S. setting. Opportunities to co-locate torrefaction facilities adjacent to corn ethanol plants and coal-fired power plants are explored as means to improve economics for collaborating businesses.

-- Haochi Zheng, assistant professor, Earth System Science & Policy, 777.6056,

Tagged as: