The aim of this study was to understand the environmental and economic impact of the low temperature closed-cycle grain drying system by using techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA). For TEA, three scales including small (60 bu/batch), medium (600 bu/batch) and large (6000 bu/batch) were chosen for analysis the total annual drying cost and unit drying cost. For LCA, the greenhouse gasses (GHG) emission was the only environmental impact that considered in this study, since the electricity was the only energy source for this drying system. The TEA result shows that the drying costs for one bushel of corn were $0.62, $0.49, $0.46 for the small, medium and large scales of this drying system, respectively, and the drying cost could potentially be lower than grain elevators. The LCA results indicate that greenhouse gas emissions will increase along with the expansion of the drying system since the electricity comes from a local coal-based electricity plant, which potentially makes this drying system’s greenhouse gas emissions higher than other types of drying systems. Farmers can use this method to make decisions when handling their grain.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kurt_rosentrater/345/