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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR MEETING AGRONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND SOCIETAL CROP PRODUCTION DEMANDS

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Production and supply logistics of switchgrass as an energy feedstock

Authors
item Schmer, Marty
item Cannayen, Igathinathane -

Submitted to: CRC Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 2, 2013
Publication Date: April 21, 2014
Citation: Schmer, M.R., Cannayen, I. 2014. Production and supply logistics of switchgrass as an energy feedstock. In: Wang,L. editor. Sustainable Bioenergy Production. 1st edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 155-191.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass is being developed as a feedstock for a mature bioenergy industry. In this chapter, we look at switchgrass production, agronomic management, sustainability, harvest technology, switchgrass storage, feedstock preprocessing technology, and supply logistics. Switchgrass has high biomass production potential, wide adaptability, low fossil fuel energy requirements, and is compatible with modern agriculture practices making it an ideal bioenergy feedstock. Continued research on the effects of harvest and storage management, determining compositional changes during storage on biofuel production, long-term research evaluating harvesting management on nutrient removal, and developing strategies for maintaining sustainable soil nutrient status will be important as landscape scale deployment of switchgrass for bioenergy moves forward.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a warm-season (C4), perennial grass that is native to the tallgrass ecoregion of North America (Figure 1). Historically, switchgrass has been used for summer forage, hay, ensiling, or in conservation plantings. At the end of the 20th century, switchgrass was designated as a bioenergy crop in the United States with the goal of converting the lignocellulosic portion to a renewable transportation fuel. Switchgrass has high biomass production potential, wide adaptability, low fossil fuel energy requirements, and is compatible with modern agriculture practices making it an ideal herbaceous energy crop. At present, significant research has been conducted on switchgrass to better understand switchgrass genetics, agronomic management, and develop reliable supply chains for a mature bioenergy industry. Although maximizing biomass production is important, a holistic approach needs to be acknowledged to meet numerous ecosystem services for long term sustainability and profitability. In this chapter, we identify best management practices to ensure switchgrass productivity and efficient logistics for an emerging bioenergy industry.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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