Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Switchgrass produces biomass efficiently

Date:
November 24, 2009
Source:
American Society of Agronomy
Summary:
A new study concluded that 50 million US acres of cropland, idle cropland, and cropland pasture could be converted from current uses to the production of perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, from which biomass could be harvested for use as a biofuel feedstock. Economically viable production of a perennial grass monoculture from which substantial quantities of biomass are removed annually is expected to require nitrogen fertilizer.

A USDOE and USDA study concluded that 50 million U.S. acres of cropland, idle cropland, and cropland pasture could be converted from current uses to the production of perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, from which biomass could be harvested for use as a biofuel feedstock. Economically viable production of a perennial grass monoculture from which substantial quantities of biomass are removed annually is expected to require nitrogen fertilizer.

An agronomist at Oklahoma State University, Regents Professor Emeritus Charles Taliaferro, designed and conducted an experiment to determine biomass yield from alternative levels of nitrogen fertilizer for a single and double harvest per year system for four perennial grass species (bermudagrass, flaccidgrass, lovegrass, and switchgrass). Agricultural economics graduate student, Mohua Haque, used the data produced in the field experiments to determine the most economical species, level of nitrogen, and harvest frequency for several sets of nitrogen fertilizer prices and hypothetical biomass prices. The study was funded by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and by Oklahoma State University.

Results from the study were published in the November-December issue of the Agronomy Journal.

Haque explains, "For the soil and weather conditions that prevailed at the experiment site for the duration of the study, switchgrass clearly produced more dry biomass per dollar cost than the other three species. If perennial grass for biofuel feedstock is the best alternative for a field, and if the biomass price exceeds the cost of production, the optimal strategy would be to establish switchgrass, and in post-establishment years, to fertilize with 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year, and to harvest once per year after senescence."

If an economically viable system for conversion of biomass from perennial grasses to biofuels is developed, millions of acres may be bid from current uses and seeded to switchgrass.

Results from the study will be incorporated into a model at Oklahoma State University to evaluate the economic potential of alternative cellulosic biofuels production systems for Oklahoma. The goal of the research effort is to construct and solve models to determine the optimal number, size, and locations of cellulosic biorefineries, feedstock production counties, harvest months, fertilizer levels, number of harvest machines, storage strategy, and feedstock transportation flows.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Haque et al. Nitrogen and Harvest Frequency Effect on Yield and Cost for Four Perennial Grasses. Agronomy Journal, 2009; 101 (6): 1463 DOI: 10.2134/agronj2009.0193

Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy. "Switchgrass produces biomass efficiently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091123125201.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy. (2009, November 24). Switchgrass produces biomass efficiently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091123125201.htm
American Society of Agronomy. "Switchgrass produces biomass efficiently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091123125201.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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