Committee Chair

Dhamshala, Prakash

Committee Member

Owino, Joseph O.; Kapadia, Sagar


Dept. of Engineering


College of Engineering and Computer Science


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Due to increased concern on global warming coupled with dwindling supply of conventional fuels, attention has been focus ed recently on use of renewable energy resources. The energy derived from biomass has a great potential in meeting this challenge by use of the state of art technology in gasifiers. Commercial units recently placed in the market have a potential of using the energy available in the biomass in producing electric power as well as in meeting the other building loads most efficiently, with negligible environmental effect. Woody mass, switch grass, hazzle nut shells and other biomass wastes can be utilized in a gasifier to meet the electrical, heating and cooling loads of a building. Based on current economic data, characteristics of a gasifier and that of the building, computer simulations have been performed using hourly weather data, to evaluate the economic feasibility of using a commercially available gasifier unit for a light commercial building located in Chattanooga, TN. Results obtained from the computer simulation show that gasifier units are best suited and extremely attractive for areas with abundance in biomass sources enabling a very short payback periods. The key variables that affect the payback period for gasifier plant are the capital cost, the utility purchase factor (UPF), the total equivalent subsidies, local electric power and gas costs, fraction of rated electrical power capacity generated. The other factors that affect the payback period are the COP of the absorption cycle and the cost of the feedstock. The excess heat energy recovered after meeting the heating and cooling loads of the building, when utilized for other applications or marketing for local sales can significantly reduce the payback period. The gaseous emissions from the use of producer gas is very low compared to the emissions from the use of coal or natural gas resources and therefore use of the biomass resources through the investigated gasifier technology is extremely environment friendly, especially when one considers the carbon neutral aspect of the resources.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Biomass energy



Document Type

Masters theses




xv, 115 leaves





Included in

Engineering Commons