Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen Gent

Second Advisor

Michael Twedt


corn, feasibility, stover, techno-economic, torrefaction, torrgas


This study investigated the economic feasibility of distributed torrefaction biorefining systems using corn stover feedstock to generate value-­‐added products. Distributed torrefaction systems have the potential to operate on private agricultural enterprises as well as community-­‐scale processing facilities, similar in scale to local grain elevators. Distributed systems will thus, reduce the need for large capital investments for dedicated commercial biorefining facilities and decrease logistical concerns for harvesting and marketing the torrefied corn stover products. In this study, a techno-­‐economic model was developed to analyze the economics of harvesting techniques, logistics, processing requirements, and end product utilization. Results were determined using baseline and sensitivity analyses to determine the effects of varied parameters on the performance of the torrefaction system and the value added products. This study indicated that distributed torrefaction could be economically viable under an array of cases of variable harvest, processing rates, and system sizes. Overall, appealing profits, payback periods, and return on investments were shown to occur.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Biomass -- Refining -- Economic aspects

Biomass energy -- Economic aspects

Corn stover


Biomass conversion

Renewable energy sources


Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-94)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright