Natural grass as bioenergy

we can get a significant amount of energy from land which is currently not being used, for minimal input and without disrupting the local wildlife too much or diverting land currently used for food.

Science Deobfuscator

Bioenergy receives a lot of attention as a fossil-fuel alternative.  In principle, it’s a renewable resource, as well as being approximately carbon neutral (it neither adds nor removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, though this depends on the crop).  Some popular types of bioenergy are ethanol derived from corn, sugar cane, switch grass, palm oil, as well as fast-growing trees like poplar and willow.  These latter two are generally not made into liquid energy (i.e. they cannot be used to power automobiles), but in Europe they are gaining popularity in homes and industry when the wood is chipped and pressed into energy-dense pellets.

    Bioenergy is not without its problems, however.  Ethanol derived from corn diverts a food product into the energy sector, raising food prices.  In the tropics, conversion of native forests to bioenergy plantations for palm oil is a significant driver for deforestation as well as indirect carbon…

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Sorghum as Biofuel Feedstock

Passing Through . . . .

Home Alternative Energy Biofuels Could Sorghum be the Perfect Biofuel?

Could Sorghum be the Perfect Biofuel?

By Brian Westenhaus | Thu, 21 June 2012 21:44 | 0
A group of researchers led by Purdue University scientists believes sweet and biomass sorghum would meet the need for next-generation biofuels to be environmentally sustainable, easily adopted by producers and take advantage of existing agricultural infrastructure.
Sorghum
A sorghum head of seed near to maturity.

Those attributes point to potential adaptability for sorghum.  Scientists from Purdue, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Illinois and Cornell University believe sorghum, a grain crop similar to corn, could benefit from the rail system, grain elevators and corn ethanol processing facilities already in place.

Their article explaining the perspective has been published early online in the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining.

Click here for Oilprice.com’s Special FREE Investment Report on Sorghum

Nick Carpita, a Purdue professor…

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Woody Biomass Utilization and Sustainability

Harvesting practices remove only a small portion of branches and tops leaving sufficient biomass to conserve organic matter and nutrients. Moreover, the ash obtained after combustion of biomass compensates for nutrient losses by fertilizing the soil periodically in natural forests as well as fields. The impact of forest biomass utilization on the ecology and biodiversity has been found to be insignificant. Infact, forest residues are environmentally beneficial because of their potential to replace fossil fuels as an energy source.

Plantation of energy crops on abandoned agricultural land will lead to an increase in species diversity. The creation of structurally and species diverse forests helps in reducing the impacts of insects, diseases and weeds. Similarly the artificial creation of diversity is essential when genetically modified or genetically identical species are being planted. Short-rotation crops give higher yields than forests so smaller tracts are needed to produce biomass which results in the reduction of area under intensive forest management. An intelligent approach in forest management will go a long way in the realization of sustainability goals.

Improvements in agricultural practices promises to increased biomass yields, reductions in cultivation costs, and improved environmental quality. Extensive research in the fields of plant genetics, analytical techniques, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) will immensely help in increasing the energy potential of biomass feedstock.

Bioenergy systems offer significant possibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to their immense potential to replace fossil fuels in energy production. Biomass reduces emissions and enhances carbon sequestration since short-rotation crops or forests established on abandoned agricultural land accumulate carbon in the soil. Bioenergy usually provides an irreversible mitigation effect by reducing carbon dioxide at source, but it may emit more carbon per unit of energy than fossil fuels unless biomass fuels are produced unsustainably.

Biomass can play a major role in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels by making use of thermo-chemical conversion technologies. In addition, the increased utilization of biomass-based fuels will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, generation of new job opportunities, sustainable development and health improvements in rural areas. The development of efficient biomass handling technology, improvement of agro-forestry systems and establishment of small and large-scale biomass-based power plants can play a major role in rural development. Biomass energy could also aid in modernizing the agricultural economy.

A large amount of energy is expended in the cultivation and processing of crops like sugarcane, coconut, and rice which can met by utilizing energy-rich residues for electricity production. The integration of biomass-fueled gasifiers in coal-fired power stations would be advantageous in terms of improved flexibility in response to fluctuations in biomass availability and lower investment costs. The growth of the bioenergy industry can also be achieved by laying more stress on green power marketing.