Quantifying lignin and carbohydrate composition of corn (Zea mays L.) is important to support the emerging cellulosic biofuels industry. Therefore, field studies with 0 or 100 % stover removal were established in Alabama and South Carolina as part of the Sun Grant Regional Partnership Corn Stover Project. In Alabama, cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) was also included as an additional experimental factor, serving as a winter cover crop. Plots were located on major soil types representative of their respective states: Compass and Decatur soils in Alabama and a Coxville/Rains-Goldsboro-Lynchburg soil association in South Carolina. Lignin and structural carbohydrate concentrations in the whole (above-ground) plant, cobs, vegetation excluding cobs above the primary ear (top), vegetation below the primary ear (bottom), and vegetation from above the primary ear including cobs (above-ear fraction) were determined using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The distribution of lignin, ash, and structural carbohydrates varied among plant fractions, but neither inclusion of a rye cover crop nor the stover harvest treatments consistently affected carbohydrate concentrations within locations. Total precipitation and average air temperature during the growing season were strongly correlated with stover composition indicating that weather conditions may have multiple effects on potential biofuel production (i.e., not only yield but also stover quality). When compared to the above-ear fractions, bottom plant partitions contained greater lignin concentrations. Holocellulose concentration was consistently greater in the above-ear fractions at all three locations. Data from this study suggests that the above-ear plant portions have the most desirable characteristics for cellulosic ethanol production via fermentation in the southeastern USA.
ORNL Report ORNL/TM-2010-120.
The purpose of this study is to summarize the various barriers to more widespread distribution of biofuels through our common carrier fuel distribution system, which includes pipelines, barges and rail, fuel tankage, and distribution terminals, and with a special focus on biofuels, which may come into increased usage in the future. Addressing these barriers is necessary to allow the more widespread utilization and distribution of biofuels, in support of a renewable fuels standard and possible future low-carbon fuel standards. By identifying these barriers early, for fuels not currently in widespread use, they can be addressed in related research and development. These barriers can be classified into several categories, including operating practice, regulatory, technical, and acceptability barriers. Possible solutions to these issues are discussed, including compatibility evaluation, changes to biofuels, regulatory changes, and changes in the distribution system or distribution practices. No actual experimental research has been conducted in the writing of this report, but results are used to develop recommendations for future research and additional study as appropriate.
This article addresses development of the Illinois ethanol industry through the period 2007-2022, responding to the ethanol production mandates of the Renewable Fuel Standard by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The planning for corn-based and cellulosic ethanol production requires integrated decisions on transportation, plant location, and capacity. The objective is to minimize the total system costs for transportation and processing of biomass, transportation of ethanol from refineries to the blending terminals and demand destinations, capital investment in refineries, and by-product credits. A multi-year transshipment and facility location model is presented to determine the optimal size and time to build each plant in the system, the amount of raw material processed by individual plants, and the distribution of bioenergy crops and ethanol.
PEATSim (Partial Equilibrium Agricultural Trade Simulation) is a dynamic, partial equilibrium, mathematical-based model that enables users to reach analytical solutions to problems, given a set of parameters, data, and initial
conditions. This theoretical tool developed by ERS incorporates a wide range of domestic and border policies that enables it to estimate the market and trade effects of policy changes on agricultural markets. PEATSim captures
the economic behavior of agricultural producers, consumers, and markets in a global framework. It includes variables for production of crops and livestock activities, consumption, exports, imports, stocks, world prices, and domestic producer and consumer prices.
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. Comparing to the earlier survey results, ethanol plants drew a considerable amount of corn away from traditional destination markets, such as feeders or export markets. A major portion of corn supplies came from in-state sources, while the sales of Iowa ethanol and DDG were dominated by out-of-state buyers.
Agricultural markets often feature significant transport costs and spatially distributed production and processing which causes spatial imperfect competition. Spatial economics considers the firms’ decisions regarding location and spatial price strategy separately, usually on the demand side, and under restrictive assumptions. Therefore, alternative approaches are needed to explain, e.g., the location of new ethanol plants in the U.S. at peripheral as well as at central locations and the observation of different spatial price strategies in the market. We use an agent-based simulation model to analyze location and spatial pricing in a general model under multi-firm competition, two-dimensional space, and a continuum of potential price strategies. The results show, e.g., that depending on the location of a processor, different price strategies can be observed, spatial price discrimination can increase with the number of competitors, and elasticity in the producers’ supply functions can be identified as stabilizing factor of processor’s location.
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. Three types of alternative crop management scenarios are simulated by varying crop rotation, fertilization and tillage. The cost of transporting biomass to a specific demand location is obtained using road distances and bulk shipping costs from geographic information systems. The spatial mathematical programming model predicts the supply of biomass and implied environmental consequences for a landscape managed by representative, profit maximizing farmers. The model was applied and validated for simulation of cellulosic biomass supply in a 9-county region of southern Michigan. Results for 74 cropping systems simulated across 39 sub-watersheds show that crop residues are the first types of biomass to be supplied. Corn stover and wheat straw supply start at $21/Mg and $27/Mg delivered prices. Perennial bioenergy crops become profitable to produce when the delivered biomass price reaches $46/Mg for switchgrass, $118/Mg for grass mixes and $154/Mg for Miscanthus giganteus. The predicted effect of the USDA Biomass Conversion Assistance Program is to sharply reduce the minimum biomass price at which miscanthus would become profitable to supply. Compared to conventional crop production practices in the area, the EPIC-simulated environmental outcomes with crop residue removal include increased greenhouse gas emissions and reduced water quality through increased nutrient loss. By contrast, perennial cellulosic biomass crops reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved water quality compared to current commercial cropping systems.
A presentation by Bruce Heine of Magellan Midstream Partners to the 2006 Bioeconomy Conference held at Iowa State University.
A presentation by Andrea Grant of Independent Fuel Terminal Operators Association.
The purpose of this study is to analyse the economical and environmental performance of switchgrass and miscanthus production and supply chains in the European Union (EU25), for the years 2004 and 2030. The environmental performance refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the primary fossil energy use and to the impact on fresh water reserves, soil erosion and biodiversity. Analyses are carried out for regions in five countries. The lowest costs of producing (including storing and transporting across 100 km) in the year 2004 are calculated for Poland, Hungary and Lithuania at 43–64 € per oven dry tonne (odt) or 2.4–3.6 € GJ−1 higher heating value. This cost level is roughly equivalent to the price of natural gas (3.1 € GJ−1) and lower than the price of crude oil (4.6 € GJ−1) in 2004, but higher than the price of coal (1.7 € GJ−1) in 2004. The costs of biomass in Italy and the United Kingdom are somewhat higher (65–105 € odt−1 or 3.6–5.8 € GJ−1). The doubling of the price of crude oil and natural gas that is projected for the period 2004–2030, combined with nearly stable biomass production costs, makes the production of perennial grasses competitive with natural gas and fossil oil. The results also show that the substitution of fossil fuels by biomass from perennial grasses is a robust strategy to reduce fossil energy use and curb GHG emissions, provided that perennial grasses are grown on agricultural land (cropland or pastures). However, in such case deep percolation and runoff of water are reduced, which can lead to overexploitation of fresh water reservoirs. This can be avoided by selecting suitable locations (away from direct accessible fresh water reservoirs) and by limiting the size of the plantations. The impacts on biodiversity are generally favourable compared to conventional crops, but the location of the plantation compared to other vegetation types and the size and harvesting regime of the plantation are important variables.