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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Distributed on-Farm Bioenergy, Biofuels & Biochemicals (Farmbio3) Dev. & Production Via Integrated Catalytic Thermolysis (Msc)-Cfda 10.312

Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-Products

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of FarmBio3 is twofold: (i) to leverage the existing synergies among partners to further research and optimize pyrolysis pathways to commodity fuels and chemicals and improve the TRL 4 status already achieved at ARS and (ii) increase to on-farm scale that will enable the current state of technology to, TRL 6, commercial status.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Will focus on three feedstocks that are important to U.S. agriculture including switchgrass, horse manure and woody biomass. The primary conversion platform will be catalytic and non-catalytic fast pyrolysis for production of stable fuel intermediates. Because barriers to utilization of such intermediates are high we will develop more robust multi-functional heterogeneous catalysts to balance deoxygenation pathways to minimize oxygenate production while increasing carbon efficiency for the selected feedstock pool. Bifunctional catalysts will be developed to upgrade and optimize carbon distribution in the condensed phase pyrolysate to achieve C6-C14 hydrocarbons and target entry to gasoline, diesel and jet range fuels markets. We will develop and optimize homogeneous catalysts to break C-O bonds of the lignin fraction of lignocellulosic pyrolysate to produce specialty chemicals. Pyrolysis process improvements will be integrated at on- the-farm scale using an existing patent-pending dual fluidized bed, combustion-reduction integrated pyrolysis, unit (CRIPS) designed to mimic the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) process. Using real process data from this scale up and optimized upgrading, an exergetic LCA will be performed to describe not only economics and greenhouse gas emissions but also resource depletion and loss of quality for distributed on-farm thermolysis; this will be the first complete economic, environmental, and social sustainability analysis for on-farm pyrolysis.


3.Progress Report:

This is a sub-award for a NIFA funded Biomass Research & Development Initiative project (FarmBio3) for which ARS is the principal investigator. The collaborator is working to understand the viability of horse manure as a feedstock for biofuels production via fast pyrolysis. The collaborator has conducted a baseline assessment of quantity and characteristics of waste produced from the equine facilities on their campus to provide a detailed quantitative description of the feedstock materials and their variability by manure handling practices. They have developed a comprehensive tax-parcel and ownership database of all campus facilities including those owned by the College Foundation, Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation (MAC), and New York State (Morrisville State College) and updated existing georeferenced base-line information on equine/dairy animal facilities on campus. The collaborator has also performed a GPS exercise of parcel boundaries and the structures of the new Equine Rehabilitation Center (ERC) located 3 miles west of campus on Route 20. The collected GPS data along with existing digital orthoimagery was used to develop vector data of the new ERC and integrated the collected geospatial data into the existing ArcGIS database of campus facilities. Several statewide GIS maps on equine value and headcounts were developed based on the 2000 and 2005 surveys conducted by the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service. Detailed sampling of straw- and wood-based bedding and manure was initiated at the Morrisville State College Equine Rehabilitation Center (ERC). Two levels of sampling were used (i) Daily sampling of randomly selected stalls: “wet” mass of “picked” manure and soiled bedding removed from the stall using ERC standard practices and conducted by ERC staff. Three stalls were randomly sampled daily at the Rehabilitation barn (wood-based bedding) for 2 weeks (total n=42). Additional sampling will be conducted at the ERC Thoroughbred barn (straw-based bedding) throughout the month of March. (ii) “Complete stall” sampling: starting with a clean stall and monitored for 1.5-2 weeks until a complete stall cleanout was warranted by ERC standard practices; daily measurement of mass of bedding and feed (grain and hay) inputs and stall outputs (“picked” soiled bedding and manure). All material removed from stall was stored in an unheated closed shipping container until final stall cleanout. After final stall cleanout, bulk volume was measured, and moisture content was determined by oven drying five 2-3kg samples collected after homogenization via comminution of all stall waste materials. One “complete stall” sample was finalized at the Rehabilitation barn (wood-based bedding), and another complete stall sample was initiated in the ERC Thoroughbred barn (straw-based bedding). This information will inform other FarmBio3 partners performing technoeconomics and life cycle assessments for the pyrolysis of horse wastes.


Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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