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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Distribution of energy in corn plants

item Cantrell, Keri
item Novak, Jeffrey
item Frederick, James -
item Karlen, Douglas
item Watts, Donald

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2009
Publication Date: November 5, 2009
Citation: Cantrell, K.B., Novak, J.M., Frederick, J.R., Karlen, D.L., Watts, D.W. 2009. Distribution of energy in corn plants [abstract]. Proceedings of the American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America International Annual Meetings, November 1-5, 2009, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Technical Abstract: Influenced by recent events in fossil fuel prices, both economic and environmental, as well as increased concerns about both climate change and energy independence, there is a growing interest in the development of renewable energy biomass feedstocks. These feedstocks include perennial grasses, timber, and annual grain crops with focus being placed on corn and its stover residue. Field studies involving corn (Zea mays) grown over Goldsboro and Lynchburg soil series were conducted to measure the distribution of gross energy, as measured by an isoperibol calorimeter, in corn stover—whole plant, bottoms, tops, and cob (n = 20). Cob was found to be the most energy dense per kg-dry basis (kg-db) with an average value of 19.26 MJ. The top of the corn plant, considered to be the biomass above the ear of corn, was more energy dense than the bottom biomass—18.92 and 18.04 MJ per kg-db, respectively. The gross energy content of the whole plant was determined to be 18.55 MJ per kg-db. Partial to total removal (i.e., 25 to 100%) of the whole plant would supply between 57.9 and 191.7 GJ per hectare. Total removal of a 130 square km (50 square mi) area of the whole stover would support a 3.7 MW power plant.

Last Modified: 11/24/2015