Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protecting Soils And Producing Biofuel With Corn Stover

Date:
November 7, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Those lonely cornstalks--called corn stover--left behind in the fields after the grain harvest is complete could someday become valuable raw material for the production of cellulosic ethanol. In the meantime, ) soil scientists are determining which portion of the plant would work best for cellulosic ethanol production.

ARS soil scientist Doug Karlen and technician Tanya Ferguson evaluate how harvesting cornstalk residues for ethanol production can impact soil quality, future crop production, and how ethanol production might vary with harvest methods
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Those lonely cornstalks—called corn stover—left behind in the fields after the grain harvest is complete could someday become valuable raw material for the production of cellulosic ethanol. In the meantime, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Doug Karlen is determining which portion of the plant would work best for cellulosic ethanol production.

Related Articles


He's also studying the amount of stover that needs to remain in the fields to prevent soil erosion and recycle essential plant nutrients.

Karlen works at the ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. He partnered with a research team that harvested cornstalks at four different heights to quantify the amount and quality of stover that could be obtained using different removal strategies.

The team also evaluated several aspects of harvesting stover for ethanol production. These factors included engineering challenges associated with harvesting, how stover removal could potentially impact future crop production and soil quality, and how potential ethanol production might vary with harvest methods.

As part of the study, stover yields from the four harvest groups were converted to ethanol using biochemical processing. The researchers measured the resulting net energy yield and decided that the most likely factor driving conversion efficiency was the level of moisture in the feedstock.

After evaluating harvest convenience and speed, acceptable stover water content and other factors, the researchers concluded that a "normal cut" harvest would result in the most economical and efficient stover harvest for biofuel production. When the "normal cut" stover was harvested, at least 16 inches of stubble remained on the field.

Karlen's research is part of a larger national effort to evaluate the environmental and economic costs and benefits that might accrue from large-scale corn stover removal for cellulosic ethanol production. This project—the Renewable Energy Assessment Project, or REAP—supports corn producers who want to optimize sustainable practices that maximize production, reduce costs and protect natural resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Protecting Soils And Producing Biofuel With Corn Stover." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081031214110.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, November 7). Protecting Soils And Producing Biofuel With Corn Stover. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081031214110.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Protecting Soils And Producing Biofuel With Corn Stover." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081031214110.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Thai wildlife officials begin a headcount of nearly 150 tigers kept by monks at a temple which has become the centre of a dispute over the welfare of the animals. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

AP (Apr. 24, 2015) Theres never been a shortage of beer on college campuses. But students at Cal Poly-Pomona are learning how to brew, serving their product to classmates, and hoping to land jobs in craft breweries when they graduate. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Cambodia&apos;s Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. As well as educating tourists about the creatures, it also offers a source of income to nearby villagers, who are paid to breed local species. Duration: 02:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins