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Why use corn as a fuel source?

IT'S PRACTICAL - The use of shelled corn as a fuel source will reduce the United States' dependency on foreign sources of petroleum, while at the same time providing increased financial revenues for agricultural areas throughout this country. Plus, shelled corn is a fuel that can be produced within 180 days, compared to the millennia needed to produce fossil fuels.

THE ENVIRONMENT - Shelled corn is a clean-burning fuel, as documented by several government studies concluding that there is less environmental pollution associated with burning shelled corn than fossil fuels. Furthermore, corn is very effective in pulling carbon dioxide from the environment and replacing it with oxygen through photosynthesis during the growing season.

THERE'S ENOUGH - Utilizing corn as a fuel does not compete with the food supply needed for nourishment throughout the world. Studies have shown that contemporary agricultural systems can produce sufficient quality and quantity of food for the world's population, with additional resources available so that agricultural products can be used as fuel, pharmaceuticals, and chemical feedstocks.

Fuel Type BTU Value Per Unit Units Required to Produce 1,000,000 BTUs Fuel Price Per Unit Cost to Produce 1,000,000 BTUs Appliance Efficiency Effective Cost Per 1,000,000 BTUs
Shelled Corn
8,000 per lb.
125 pounds (2.23 bushels)
$1.75 per bushel
$3.90
85%
$4.60
Electricity
3,413 per KWH
293 KWH
$0.075 per KWH
$21.98
100%
$21.98
Natural Gas
100,020 per Cu. Ft.
1,030 Cu. Ft.
$1.30 per 100 Cu. Ft.
$13.39
85%
$15.75
Fuel Oil
139,000 per gallon
7.1 gallons
$1.00 per gallon
$7.19
80%
$8.98
LP Gas
91,960 per gallon
11 gallons
$1.69 per gallon
$18.59
80%
$23.23
Wood
16,464,000 per cord
0.0607 cords
$150 per cord
$9.11
60%
$15.18
Wood Pellets
8,000 per pound
125 pounds
$175 per ton
$10.50
87%
$12.00
Market prices will vary: cost comparisons may need to be re-calculated based on current community market conditions.

Data taken from "BURNING SHELLED CORN - A RENEWABLE FUEL SOURCE," by Dennis E. Buffington, Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University.