The harvest of corn stover or herbaceous crops as feedstocks for bioenergy purposes has been shown to have significant benefits from energy and climate change perspectives. There is a potential, however, to adversely impact water and soil quality, especially in Midwestern states where the biomass feedstock production would predominantly occur.
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National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation?s water resources. This report examines some of the key issues and identifies opportunities for shaping policies that help to protect water resources.
Power generation emits significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). Sequestering CO2 from the power plant flue gas can significantly reduce the GHGs from the power plant itself, but this is not the total picture. CO2 capture and sequestration consumes additional energy, thus lowering the plant's fuel-to-electricity efficiency. To compensate for this, more fossil fuel must be procured and consumed to make up for lost capacity.
Biomass is a significant contributor to the US economy--agriculture, forest and paper products, food and related products account for 5% of our GDP. While the forest products industry self generates some of their energy, other sectors are importers. Bioenergy can contribute to economic development and to the environment. Examples of bioenergy routes suggest that atmospheric carbon can be cycled through biofuels in carefully designed systems for sustainability. Significant potential exists for these options.
In 2013 a series of meetings was held across the US with each of the Sun Grant Regional Feedstock Partnership crop teams and the resource assessment team, led by the Oregon State University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to review, standardize, and verify energy crop yield trials from 2007-2012 and assimilate their outcomes into a national model of biomass yield suitability.
This document provides presentation style maps of potential crop yield of dedicated bioenergy crops from the publication "Productivity Potential of Bioenergy Crops from the Sun Grant Regional Feedstock Partnership." 2013. Eaton, Laurence, Chris Daly, Mike Halbleib, Vance Owens, Bryce Stokes. ORNL/TM-2013/574.
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial grass native to the United States that has been studied as a sustainable source of biomass fuel. Although many field-scale studies have examined the potential of this grass as a bioenergy crop, these studies have not been integrated. In this study, we present an empirical model for switchgrass yield and use this model to predict yield for the conterminous United States. We added environmental covariates to assembled yield data from field trials based on geographic location. We developed empirical models based on these data.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuel in the United States. Until advanced technologies become commercially viable, meeting these targets will increase demand for traditional agricultural commodities used to produce ethanol, resulting in land-use, production, and price changes throughout the farm sector. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment. Meeting EISA targets for ethanol production is estimated to expand U.S.
This paper examines the impact of biofuel expansion on grain utilization and distribution at the state and cropping district level as most of grain producers and handlers are directly influenced by the local changes. We conducted a survey to understand the utilization and flows of corn, ethanol and its co-products, such as dried distillers grains (DDG) in Iowa. Results suggest that the rapidly expanding ethanol industry has a significant impact on corn utilization in Iowa.
This paper introduces a spatial bioeconomic model for study of potential cellulosic biomass supply at regional scale. By modeling the profitability of alternative crop production practices, it captures the opportunity cost of replacing current crops by cellulosic biomass crops. The model draws upon biophysical crop input-output coefficients, price and cost data, and spatial transportation costs in the context of profit maximization theory. Yields are simulated using temperature, precipitation and soil quality data with various commercial crops and potential new cellulosic biomass crops.