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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Sustainable Production Systems and Water Management Technology for the Mid South

Location: Crop Production Systems Research

Title: Determination of caloric values of agricultural crops and crop waste by Adiabatic Bomb Calorimetry

item Broome, Hugh
item Younces, S
item Stover, M
item Steele, M
item Sassenrath, Gretchen
item Corbitt, Jason

Submitted to: Mississippi Academy of Sciences Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2010
Publication Date: 1/6/2011
Citation: Broome, H., Younces, S.T., Stover, M., Steele, M., Sassenrath, G.F., Corbitt, J.Q. 2011. Determination of caloric values of agricultural crops and crop waste by Adiabatic Bomb Calorimetry. Mississippi Academy of Sciences Proceedings. Vol 56, pp. 49.

Interpretive Summary: Recent energy price fluctuations have led to renewed interest in production of biofuels. A variety of crops and waste materials are being explored as potential contributors to biofuel production. Additional challenges to agricultural production have pushed farmers to improve the sustainability of their production systems. One key principle of sustainable systems is the reduction of waste. Recycling products or crop components that were formerly considered trash is one possible way of adding value to crop production systems, improving the sustainability and economic return to farmers. We are exploring the energy content stored in a variety of crop products and byproducts for potential use as biofuel synthesis stocks. The biomass produced in crop production may serve as a use for biofuel synthesis, expanding the saleable products. Most importantly, identifying potential biomass components of the agricultural production cycle that were traditionally disposed of as trash can greatly benefit producers and consumers alike. To determine potential energy production, we compared the caloric energy content of seven commonly grown crops: rice, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, rye and sweet potatoes. The results show that these crop products have sufficient caloric energy to allow them to be used as alternative fuel sources.

Technical Abstract: Calorific values of agricultural crops and their waste were measured by adiabatic bomb calorimetry. Sustainable farming techniques require that all potential sources of revenue be utilized. A wide variety of biomass is beginning to be used as alternative fuels all over the world. The energy potential of low value crops and crop residue has the capacity of making a small farm self sustaining in times of low market value. The caloric value of all portions of the crop product was measured individually to evaluate its potential as an energy source. Rice, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, rye, and sweet potatoes were included in this study. All crops were grown and harvested under the care of scientists at the USDA-ARS Research Center in Stoneville, MS. The experimental procedure was based on that used by Núñez-Regueira et al. [Thermochimica Acta Volume 371, Issues 1-2, 26 April 2001, Pages 23-31]. Additional parameters evaluated were moisture content, density, and ash content. The experimental results, with caloric values exceeding 16 kJ g-1, make it feasible to use these materials as alternative fuels.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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