2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this specific cooperative agreement is for the University utilizing a number of its departments to cooperate with ARS to provide economic and ecologically based science that will sustain farm operations producing biomass as feedstock for bio-based energy production. Included will be research to add value to the resulting co-products. The specific objective will be (1) to determine appropriate bio-energy crops for maximizing bio-fuel production capacity and (2) to develop economically feasible management systems that reduce input requirements for transitioning into and out of bio-energy crops.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Novel research addressing feedstock production systems will be conducted. Specifically trials will be initiated to measure adaptation and endurance of a multiple of potential feedstocks in comparison to Switchgrass. Included will be research evaluation conversion of the feedstock as bio-based energy sources. Initial plot areas will be at five University Centers and one ARS location.
Densification studies on switchgrass, bromegrass and wheat straw were completed and results were published in Bioresource Technology (Bioresource Technology, 2012, 116: 36-41).
Storage characteristics of switchgrass, big bluestem and bromegrass determined through moisture adsorption measurements using an environment control chamber were completed. Measured moisture adsorption kinetics (20, 40, 60 °C – at 95% RH) as well as the effect of temperature were modeled using exponential, Page, Peleg, and Arrhenius equations. Moisture sorption rates were reduced very sharply during first hour (= 73%) and then quickly plateaued. This study indicated the Peleg model in combination with the Arrhenius equation would perform best for moisture sorption predictions. The results were submitted as a peer reviewed publication in Transactions of the ASABE (Ref: FPE-10130-2013).