Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/2006
Publication Date: 4/29/2006
Citation: Russelle, M.P., Birr, A.S., Tiffany, D.G. 2006. GIS-based fuelshed analysis: net energy yields and economics of cellulosic and grain biomass [abstract]. 28th Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium, April 29-May 3, 2006, Nashville, Tennessee. Abstract No. STA-01. p. 61. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Comprehensive planning for a biomass energy facility requires knowledge of fuel supply and physiographic characteristics of the fuelshed. This is especially true for herbaceous materials, which entail higher transportation costs. Perennial forage production and corn stover harvest increase net energy yields, while perennials offer additional income streams from environmental benefits. Crops differ, however, in the energy requirements and economics of production. We used a GIS-based approach to evaluate the yield of harvested energy (i.e., before processing) of four biomass crops, both in the field and when delivered to a central facility in a proposed fuelshed. Economic evaluations were conducted on competing crop rotations. The model fuelshed was centered on Madelia, Minnesota, site of several biomass-based initiatives. Maps of energy yield were based on expected crop yields from the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database. Gross energy in harvested soybeans was one-half that of corn grain, corn stover, or alfalfa hay, which yielded from about 10 to 50 Gcal/ha. With removal of all grain and 50% of corn stover, the net energy gain from a corn-soybean rotation would be only one-half that of a rotation of 4 years of alfalfa, 2 years of corn, and 1 year of soybean.