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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Sustainable Production Systems and Water Management Technology for the Mid South

Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit

Title: Potential alternative fuel sources for agricultural crops and plant components

Authors
item Clement, Jon -
item Sassenrath, Gretchen
item Broome, Hugh -
item Younes, Subhi Talal -
item Younes, Laila -
item Ratcliff, Tyree -
item Steele, Marcus -

Submitted to: Mississippi Academy of Sciences Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 7, 2012
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Citation: Clement, J., Sassenrath, G.F., Broome, H., Younes, S., Younes, L., Ratcliff, T., Steele, M. 2012. Potential alternative fuel sources for agricultural crops and plant components. Mississippi Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, pp. 1.

Technical Abstract: The changing landscape of agricultural production is placing unprecedented demands on farmers as they face increasing global competition and greater natural resource conservation challenges. However, shrinking profit margins due to increasing input costs, particularly of fuel and fertilizer, can restrict the incorporation of potentially beneficial management practices. Research in progress at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Stoneville, MS, is designed to improve crop productivity, sustainability and profitability for the humid growing environment of the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Flood Plain. The portion of the research presented here is examining biomass accumulation and energy content of various plant parts, to determine the potential for their use as alternative fuel sources. Calorific values of agricultural crops and their waste were measured by adiabatic bomb calorimetry. Sustainable farming techniques require that all potential sources of revenue be utilized. A wide variety of biomass is beginning to be used as alternative fuels all over the world. The energy potential of low value crops and crop residue has the capacity of making a small farm self sustaining in times of low market value. The caloric value of all portions of the crop product was measured individually to evaluate its potential as an energy source. Rice, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, rye, and sweet potatoes were included in this study. All crops were grown and harvested under the care of scientists at the USDA-ARS Research Center in Stoneville, MS. The experimental procedure was based on that used by Núñez-Regueira et al. [Thermochimica Acta Volume 371, Issues 1-2, 26 April 2001, Pages 23-31]. Additional parameters evaluated were moisture content, density, and ash content. The experimental results, with caloric values exceeding 16 kJ g-1, make it feasible to use these materials as alternative fuels. The research will give us information on potential new uses for agricultural crops, and crop waste. It will contribute to the growing biofuel industry in Mississippi.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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