Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2007
Publication Date: 3/8/2007
Citation: Sanderson, M.A. 2007. Bioenergy Potential of Forage Crops. Proceedings of the Michigan Forage Technology Conference. East Lansing, MI. P. 10-15. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Biomass generally refers to the organic matter from plants and, in terms of energy production, includes herbaceous and woody crops along with their residues. Biofuels derived from this organic matter include alcohols, ethers, esters, and other chemicals. The term biofuels often is used interchangeably when referring to fuels for electricity or liquid fuels for transportation. The lignocellulose in forage crops represents a vast and renewable source of biomass feedstock for conversion into liquid fuels, thermochemical products, and other energy-related end products. With new technologies and processes for biomass production and conversion nearing commercial reality, forages could once again fuel agriculture. Some of the most extensively studied species for biomass feedstock production include switchgrass, Miscanthus sp., sugarcane, elephantgrass, reed canarygrass, and alfalfa. An advantage of using existing forages as bioenergy crops is that farmers are familiar with their agronomic management and already have the machinery, technology, and infrastructure needed to establish, manage, harvest, store, and transport them. Forage crops offer additional flexibility in management, because they can be used for biomass or forage and the land can be returned to other uses or put into crop rotation.