Final Technical Report

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

The following report contributes to our knowledge of how to economically produce wildlife-friendly grass mixtures for future fuel feedstocks in the northern plains. It investigates northern-adapted cultivars; management and harvest regimes that are good for yields, soils and wildlife; comparative analysis of monocultures and simple mixtures of native grasses; economic implications of growing grasses for fuel feedstocks in specific locations in the northern plains; and conversion options for turning the grasses into useful chemicals and fuels. The core results of this study suggest the following:  Native grasses, even simple grass mixtures, can be produced profitably in the northern plains ... continued below

Physical Description

2.7 MB

Creation Information

Sara Bergan, Executive Director; Brendan Jordan, Program Manager & report., Subcontractors as listed on the June 6, 2007.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

The following report contributes to our knowledge of how to economically produce wildlife-friendly grass mixtures for future fuel feedstocks in the northern plains. It investigates northern-adapted cultivars; management and harvest regimes that are good for yields, soils and wildlife; comparative analysis of monocultures and simple mixtures of native grasses; economic implications of growing grasses for fuel feedstocks in specific locations in the northern plains; and conversion options for turning the grasses into useful chemicals and fuels. The core results of this study suggest the following:  Native grasses, even simple grass mixtures, can be produced profitably in the northern plains as far west as the 100th meridian with yields ranging from 2 to 6 tons per acre.  Northern adapted cultivars may yield less in good years, but have much greater long-term sustainable yield potential than higher-yielding southern varieties.  Grasses require very little inputs and stop economically responding to N applications above 56kg/hectare.  Harvesting after a killing frost may reduce the yield available in that given year but will increase overall yields averaged throughout multiple years.  Harvesting after a killing frost or even in early spring reduces the level of ash and undesirable molecules like K which cause adverse reactions in pyrolysis processing. Grasses can be managed for biomass harvest and maintain or improve overall soil-health and carbon sequestration benefits of idled grassland  The carbon sequestration activity of the grasses seems to follow the above ground health of the biomass. In other words plots where the above ground biomass is regularly removed can continue to sequester carbon at the rate of 2 tons/acre/year if the stand health is strong and yielding significant amounts of biomass.  Managing grasses for feedstock quality in a biomass system requires some of the same management strategies as managing for wildlife benefit. We believe that biomass development can be done in such a way that also maximizes or improves upon conservation and other environmental goals (in some cases even when compared to idled land).  Switchgrass and big bluestem work well together in simple mixture plots where big bluestem fills in around the switchgrass which alone grows in bunches and leaves patches of bare soil open and susceptible to erosion.  Longer-term studies in the northern plains may also find that every other year harvest schemes produce as much biomass averaged over the years as annual harvests  Grasses can be grown for between $23 and $54/ton in the northern plains at production rates between 3 and 5 tons/acre.  Land costs, yields, and harvest frequency are the largest determining factors in the farm scale economics. Without any land rent offset or incentive for production, and with annual harvesting, grass production is likely to be around $35/ton in the northern plains (farm gate).  Average transportation costs range from $3 to $10/ton delivered to the plant gate. Average distance from the plant is the biggest factor - $3/ton at 10 miles, $10/ton at 50 miles.  There is a substantial penalty paid on a per unit of energy produced basis when one converts grasses to bio-oil, but the bio-oil can then compete in higher priced fuel markets whereas grasses alone compete directly with relatively cheap coal.  Bio oil or modified bio-oil (without the HA or other chemical fraction) is a suitable fuel for boiler and combustion turbines that would otherwise use residual fuel oil or number 2 diesel.  Ensyn has already commercialized the use of HA in smokey flavorants for the food industry but that market is rather small. HA, however, is also found to be a suitable replacement for the much larger US market for ethanolamines and ethalyne oxides that are used as dispersants.  Unless crude oil prices rise, the highest and best use of grass based bio-oil is primarily as a direct fuel. As prices rise, HA, phenol and other chemical fractions may become more attractive  Although we were able to create available glucose from the AHG fraction in the bio-oil it proved recalcitrant to fermentation by yeast. Although fermentation results were much more positive with wood based bio-oil sugars, ethanol does not appear to be a likely product from grass based bio-oil.  A package of policy recommendations has been developed with roughly 75 key stakeholders from throughout the region that would support the transition to greater development of advanced biofuels and products in the region, as well as a strong role for native grass agriculture to support those industries.

Physical Description

2.7 MB

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

  • Report No.: DOE/GO/12028
  • Grant Number: FG36-02GO12028
  • DOI: 10.2172/908304 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 908304
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc889427

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • June 6, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Oct. 31, 2016, 7:01 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Congratulations! It looks like you are the first person to view this item online.

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Sara Bergan, Executive Director; Brendan Jordan, Program Manager & report., Subcontractors as listed on the. Final Technical Report, report, June 6, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc889427/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.