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Phone: 519.400.5709

Tasneem Virani

M.Sc. Graduate


The focus of my research is to carry out a Cost-Benefit Analysis of growing Miscanthus (a bioenergy crop)at the farm level, so see if it would be cost effective to use it as a source of energy for the Ontario Greenhouse Industry. In the Ontario greenhouse industry, heating fuel costs represent 25%-40% of total operating expenses. High fuel costs could jeopardize the viability of this 1.3 billion dollar industry. Alternative energy sources developed to date (waste wood, low-grade coal) cannot meet the industry’s heating demands in a sustainable manner. However, research is currently being conducted on the feasibility of producing energy using biomass from perennial grass species, such as miscanthus. Giant miscanthus, a perennial rhizomatous grass with C4 photosynthesis, is not currently grown commercially in Ontario. Considerable interest has been generated in recent years regarding the use of this crop as an alternative energy source, as it produces high yields and has biomass properties suitable for both direct combustion and ethanol conversion. Heating systems that combust biomass from miscanthus could potentially be used to produce energy at a lower cost than that of Natural Gas, and could represent a long term sustainable solution. Feasibility of miscanthus as an alternative energy source is dependent on many factors including yield potential, input requirements, combustion properties, pelletization requirements, and heating system conversion costs. Research in Europe, and more recently in Illinois, has confirmed the potential for high biomass production from miscanthus.Currently, miscanthus is being evaluated in field trials in Ontario for yield potential and combustion properties. However, this research does not specifically examine the economics of the use of miscanthus as an alternative energy source. To address this gap in the research, an economic feasibility study is required to determine whether a miscanthus-based heating system would improve profitability of the greenhouse industry.

Research Impact:

Bioenergy Cost Benefit Analysis Property Rights Issues


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Major: Economics Area of Emphasis: Ecology

Featured Publications:

Wetland Ownership and Management in a Common Property Resource Setting: A case study of Hakaluki Haor in Bangladesh