FARM-ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF BURNING COAL IN DUTCH GLASSHOUSE-INDUSTRY
When the energy prices are high, the price of coal is considerably cheaper in comparison with the price of gas with the same caloric value. On the other hand factors like: boiler efficiency, capital requirement, maintenance, additional labour, electricity consumption and environmental aspects are negative factors when burning coal.
On four holdings heated with coal all these aspects of a coal burning installation were closely followed by technical and economic research workers for two years. Economic calculations were made for the break-even points in the different situations in actual practice.
Depending on the actual situation the break even point lies between 37 and 51 cents per cubic metre of gas. For some growers coal will come into the picture as soon the gasprice will rise above 37 cents per m3, others will have to wait till the gasprice will reach 51 cents per m3. The varation is caused by the differences in the individual situation of the holdings asthere are: fuel intensity and the method of the way the gas is burned. The influence of the size of the holding is small.
Burning coal causes more environmental pollution than burning gas. In the Netherlands it is obligatory to install technical equipment (filters) to reduce pollution. The reduction of the pollution increases the costs of burning coal by 3 to 7 cents per cubic metre of natural gas equivalent.