Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-Products
Project Number: 1935-41000-082-07
Start Date: Aug 01, 2011
End Date: Jul 31, 2014
1) Under Feedstock Development: a) develop plant materials for plant adaptation regions using conventional and molecular breeding; 2) Under Sustainable Production Systems: b) evaluate BMPs of perennial biomass systems for system inputs (e.g. nutrients, water), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil C, productivity and ecosystem services, c) use factor-analysis plots to evaluate emerging agronomic practices, including biochar application, d) utilize modeling to extend knowledge from field to watershed scales; 3) Under Logistics: e) investigate novel harvest and transport systems, f) demonstrate these at field-scale, g) evaluate logistic costs, including the interaction between feedstock supply costs, scale and distribution of production, h) evaluate technologies for handling and applying biochar; 4) Under System Performance Metrics: i) adapt existing biophysical models to best represent data generated from field trials, j) adapt existing economic land-use models to best represent cropping system production costs and returns, k) integrate physical and economic models to create a spatially-explicit simulation model representing a wide variety of land uses, l) parameterize existing life cycle assessment models to understand cradle-to-grave consequences of various bioenergy land uses and conversion strategies; 5). Under Conversion: m) use micropyrolysis trials to screen plant materials for suitability in producing high quality bio-oil, n) identify physical or chemical properties of superior plant materials, o) develop mass and energy balances to support sustainability analyses, p) develop techno-economic models of the conversion process; 6) Under Markets and Distribution: q) identify economic and socioeconomic barriers to implementation, r) identify necessary conditions and incentives needed for sustainable biomass production, s) estimate threshold returns necessary for landowners to adopt biomass crops, t) develop a land use decision model to predict the likelihood of land use for biomass crop production, u) use existing national and global agricultural policy simulation models (FAPRI and GreenAgSim) to estimate scale effects of bioenergy production on commodity markets and GHG emissions, v) evaluate yield impacts of biochar on regional and global food, feed, fiber, and energy systems and on the GHG emissions; 7) Under Health and Safety: w) integrate safety and health with other program areas to encourage a continuous risk assessment to prevent or minimize creation of hazards, assess high risks, and allow implementation of preventative strategies; 8) Under Education: x) develop and exchange learning modules among partner institutions using the virtual-education-center (VEC) model, y) offer a 2-week Intensive Program in Bioenergy for project graduate students and 30 undergraduates who will then participate in an 8-week paid internship program; 9) Under Extension: z) develop and implement demonstrations, decision tools, workshops, and eXtension to communicate information to stakeholders.