EFFECT OF FUEL PRICES ON COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF HEATING SYSTEMS FOR BROILER POULTRY BARNS
Recent advances in extraction have increased the supply of natural gas and increased the relative price difference between it and alternative fuels. However, natural gas is not available in many rural areas forcing poultry producers unable to access natural gas to use more expensive fuels. This paper determines the least cost appliance system and fuel source for heating a broiler chicken barn in Ontario, Canada. The empirical model estimates the amount of heat required for poultry production, selects appropriate heating appliances and fuel types, and calculates the final present value of costs over a 20-year period. Appliances examined include box heaters, radiant tube heaters and biomass boilers; fuels examined include natural gas, propane, heating oil and biomass. Natural gas is the least cost fuel for both box heaters and radiant tube heaters assuming there is an existing connection to a gas pipeline. However, natural gas heating systems become the most expensive approach if the poultry operator has to pay for a pipeline connection to the gas source. With no direct connection for natural gas, biomass boilers are the most cost efficient heating system, followed closely by radiant tube heaters fuelled by propane. Heating oil is the most expensive fuel examined and its costs are nearly double that for comparable box heaters and radiant tube heaters using propane.
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