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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: On-Farm Pretreatment of Biomass: Impact of Genetics and Management

Authors
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Jung, Hans Joachim
item Dien, Bruce
item Sarath, Gautam

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 8, 2006
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The two primary sources of biomass for energy are dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass and crop residues from crops including corn and wheat. Dedicated energy crops differ from crop residues in that cultivars can be developed for specific use as energy crops, farm management practices can be used that optimize energy yield per acre and per ton, and post-harvest management can be focused on use of the product by a bio-refinery. With crop residues, genetics and management are focused on grain yield and post-harvest management of residues is secondary to harvested grain storage management. Data from switchgrass management and genetics research demonstrates that simple management practices such as harvesting on specific phonological stages of development can significantly affect ethanol yield per ton of biomass. Feedstock composition and subsequent ethanol yield also can be genetically modified. Post-harvest and storage management can result in huge losses in total biomass and ethanol yield if conducted improperly. On-farm, pre- and post-harvest management can have huge impact on ethanol yield and additional research is needed in all areas to optimize ethanol yields. Biomass refineries will need to have feedstock agronomists/agriculturalists on staff to provide technical support to producers and to monitor feedstock supply and quality.

Technical Abstract: The two primary sources of biomass for energy are dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass and crop residues from crops including corn and wheat. Dedicated energy crops differ from crop residues in that cultivars can be developed for specific use as energy crops, farm management practices can be used that optimize energy yield per acre and per ton, and post-harvest management can be focused on use of the product by a bio-refinery. With crop residues, genetics and management are focused on grain yield and post-harvest management of residues is secondary to harvested grain storage management. Data from switchgrass management and genetics research demonstrates that simple management practices such as harvesting on specific phonological stages of development can significantly affect ethanol yield per ton of biomass. Feedstock composition and subsequent ethanol yield also can be genetically modified. Post-harvest and storage management can result in huge losses in total biomass and ethanol yield if conducted improperly. On-farm, pre- and post-harvest management can have huge impact on ethanol yield and additional research is needed in all areas to optimize ethanol yields. Biomass refineries will need to have feedstock agronomists/agriculturalists on staff to provide technical support to producers and to monitor feedstock supply and quality.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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