Submitted to: Seed Production Research at Oregon State University
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2005
Publication Date: April 30, 2005
Citation: Banowetz, G.M., Steiner, J.J., Boateng, A.A., El Nashaar, H. 2005. Potential for on-farm conversion of straw to bioenergy in seed producing operations. Seed Production Research at Oregon State University. Interpretive Summary: Renewed interest in conversion of agricultural residues to electrical power and transportation fuels is driving a re-evaluation of the feasibility of converting straw to energy. Straw is plentiful in the Pacific Northwest and in many cases, no market exists for its use. Legislation has effectively phased down the use of field-burning to dispose of the straw from grass seed and cereal production. As a consequence, there is over 6.2 million tons of straw available for energy feedstock. We are evaluating new gasification technology that converts straw to synthesis gas (syngas) and then uses the syngas to power a diesel generator, or to produce mixed alcohol transportation fuels. To reduce the prohibitive cost of transporting straw to a central processing plant, we are evaluating a new design that can be scaled for on-farm use. Preliminary tests of the unit with Kentucky bluegrass straw appear promising.
Technical Abstract: Previous efforts to convert straw to energy have been limited by the cost of transporting straw to a conversion facility, and by lack of technology to handle straw. A new dual stage gasifier design is being evaluated for potential on-farm conversion of straw to electrical power and liquid fuels. After 1 ton of straw is left on fields for conservation purposes, there remains over 6.2 million tons of grass and cereal straw in the Pacific Northwest with potential to produce significant value-added revenue for seed and grain producers that already produce the straw.