Discounted cash flow analysis of greenhouse-type solar kilns

Highlights

Potential opportunities for solar kilns were discussed.

Simulation of energy flow model and assessment of embodied energy were discussed.

A discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis of solar dryers was carried out.

Solar dryers were ranked based on economic and environmental performance.

A sensitivity analysis was carried out to assess the effects of uncertain parameters on the overall conclusion.

Abstract

This paper describes the overall discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis of two greenhouse-type solar kilns (Oxford and Boral) for hardwood drying processes. The financial performance of both the kilns was found to be mainly dominated by the costs/benefits associated with the model-predicted future thermal energy flows. All the costs and benefits were calculated based on the current energy prices, while adjusting all future cash flows (either costs or benefits) to their respective present values by incorporating appropriate inflation and discount rates. The overall results indicated that the net present cash benefit and the present drying energy benefit were larger for the Oxford kiln than those for the Boral kiln, by approximately 38% and 16%, respectively, while the present energy-loss cost was smaller for the Oxford kiln by 23% than that for the Boral kiln. A sensitivity analysis was carried out in order to assess the robustness of the results against the uncertain parameters. In general, the Oxford kiln design was found to be more cost-effective and environmentally beneficial than the Boral kiln design for hardwood drying.

Graphical abstract

Discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis has appeared to be an effective method for valuing solar dryers. Based on a DCF analysis for the two designs, with the same set of climatic and geographical conditions, the solar energy was found to be used more effectively by the Oxford kiln than the Boral kiln for hardwood drying, resulting in greater financial and environmental benefits for the Oxford kiln.

Keywords

  • Hardwood drying;
  • Solar kilns;
  • Discounted cash flow analysis;
  • Economic benefits

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