Location: Soil and Water Conservation ResearchTitle: Chemical composition and bioethanol potential of different plant species found in pacific northwest conservation buffers Author
Submitted to: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2011
Publication Date: 11/8/2011
Citation: Juneja, A., Kumar, D., Williams, J.D., Wysocki, D.J., Murthy, G.S. 2011. Potential for ethanol production from conservation reserve program lands in Oregon. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. 3(6). Available http://jrse.aip.org/ Interpretive Summary: The need for biofuel feedstocks to replace 30% of the United States petroleum needs by 2030 will require harvesting up to 50% of currently enrolled conservation reserve program (CRP) land. The material harvested from these lands will provide lignocellulosic feedstocks for ethanol production. Unlike CRP in the central and eastern United States, the predominate grasses grown in the Pacific Northwest are cool season grasses. Our objective was to determine the productivity of CRP in one of the major small grain producing counties in northeastern Oregon and the suitability of that material as a lignocellulosic feedstock. Based on one year of sampling, aboveground productivity is greater than projected by the USDA Soil Survey. Despite differences in plant species, soils, and rainfall among sites, the biochemical composition of the samples was found to be similar in all but one of the sites. This material appears suitable for use in a single integrated process to produce bioethanol. These results support further exploration across the region to determine CRP productivity and confirm similar plant species composition.
Technical Abstract: Increase in energy demand has led towards considering lignocellulosic feedstocks as potential for ethanol production. Aim of this study was to estimate the potential of grass straws from conservation reserve program (CRP) lands as feedstocks for ethanol production. The CRP was initiated to ensure reduction in soil erosion with a concomitant improvement in water quality and aquatic habitats. Species and abundance of various grass species in different CRP sites can vary substantially. Ethanol yield from biomass is directly correlated to sugar content among other factors. It therefore becomes important to study the variability in the biomass composition from different CRP sites to reliably estimate biofuel production potential. Grass samples were collected from five CRP contract lands in Umatilla County, in Northeastern Oregon. Composition of these samples was experimentally determined and was statistically verified to be similar for most of the sites. Sugar content was highest (60.70%) and statistically different for only one site (CRA 8.2). Our results suggest that biomass harvested from different sites did not significantly vary in terms of their chemical composition and therefore could be used in a single integrated process to produce bioethanol.