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ON FARM BIO-CNG: DESIGN AND FEASIBILITY: The Systematic Design of Sustainable Bio-Compressed Natural Gas Energy Systems for use within the Wheat Farming Industry

Lange, Michael (2015) ON FARM BIO-CNG: DESIGN AND FEASIBILITY: The Systematic Design of Sustainable Bio-Compressed Natural Gas Energy Systems for use within the Wheat Farming Industry. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Demand for energy for transport and electricity has increased dramatically throughout the world and represents a significant financial and environmental burden to rural businesses in Australia. Currently, there are no viable replacements for diesel fuel in the form of conventional biofuels and with the substantial rise in oil price since 2002 the investigation of alternative fuel sources is high on both national and international agendas. Third generation ‘advanced’ biofuels derived from microalgae have the potential to sustainably replace fossil fuels by utilising non-arable land allowing it to co-exist with terrestrial food crops.

This document details the design and feasibility assessment of two different sustainable energy systems, which are then applied to a sample case representing a typical wheat farm in Western Australia. The objectives of such a system are to firstly, provide a sustainable energy solution, and secondly, reduce the delivery cost when compared to conventional diesel fuels. An exhaustive review of available technologies is conducted to determine the system that has the highest potential for viability based on the available resources.

The current annual energy consumption requirements are 286,957 kWh, which is satisfied using diesel fuel at an annual energy cost of $63,130. The calculated energy costs to deliver the two options from an operational level were $331,196 and $228,014 respectively. While it was determined that the biogas system was possible, it does not meet the second objective and is therefore not a practical alternative to diesel fuels in the current economic climate.

Several situations are considered under which this assessment may change in the future, such as an increase in the price or reduction in availability of diesel fuel, or improvements in the way biogas is produced.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor: Bahri, Parisa and DeBoer, Karne
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/29868
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