Bioenergy Resources from the Sun Grant Initiative

The Sun Grant Initiative is a national network of land-grant universities and national laboratories partnering to help build a bio-based economy.

The Sun Grant Initiative facilitates communication and partnership development between universities, national laboratories, federal and state governments, the private sector and public interest groups to lead the nation towards a renewable, sustainable, domestic energy industry. Sun Grant Centers are also charged with reviving America’s farming communities by placing an emphasis on rural economic

Technological Processes: Thermochemical


Woody biomass is converted into useful forms of energy (i.e. solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels) as well as useful products (e.g. polymers, bio-plastics, char, pellets, and acids) using a number of technological processes. Thermochemical processes depend on the relationship between heat and chemical action as a means of extracting and creating products and energy. This fact sheet briefly covers some of the more important thermochemical conversion and production processes used for obtaining bio-based energy and products from woody biomass.…

Research Summary: Small Scale Biomass Pellet Production Project

Research identifies processes and factors to produce best biomass pellets.

Table of Contents

About The Pelletizing Process

Pelletizer. Photo: Dan Ciolkosz, Penn State U.

Pelletizing biomass is a multi-step process. Each of these steps must be done properly if you want a high quality final product:

  • Feed Stock

Logistical Challenges to Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a Bioenergy Crop

There’s more to producing a crop like switchgrass for bioenergy than just growing it. Harvesting, storing, transporting, and selling perennial grass feedstocks must be taken into consideration to make it a successful venture.

Sponsoring Partner

Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

Table of Contents

Although switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and other perennial grasses such as Indian grass …

Research Summary: Biochar Can Improve the Sustainability of Stover Removal for Bioenergy

By returning biochar created by fast pyrolysis to the soil, more stover residue can be harvested for bioenergy without degrading soil quality or hurting crop yields in the long run.

Sponsoring Partner

Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

Table of Contents

Research Activities

Biochar being incorporated by tillage.

Photo: David Laird, Iowa State University.

David Laird, professor of agronomy at Iowa University, hypothesized …

Introduction to Biomass Combustion

Combustion of biomass used to heat greenhouses.

Fire, or combustion of biomass, is arguably the oldest known and most widely used controllable energy source on earth. In recent years, rising costs of fossil fuels and the development of advanced equipment have made biomass combustion an economical, efficient, and practical energy source.

Principles of Combustion

Combustion is familiar to all of us, but many do not realize that it is essentially a chemical reaction. In the process of combustion, two ingredients …

Processing Biomass for Combustion

Table Of Contents

Unprocessed biomass comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and other properties, ranging from a gooey puddle of microscopic algae to the massive trunk of a large oak tree. If any feedstock is to be used effectively for combustion, it usually needs some form of processing to ensure that it is suitable for effective use in combustion equipment. The most common types …

Soybeans for Biodiesel Production

The many benefits to using soybean oil in the production of biodiesel include, soybeans are widely grown, the infrastructure and equipment to grow, transport and process them already exists, and the left over soybean meal is important for animal feed. Read more about the advantages and drawbacks of soybeans as a biofuel energy crop.

One ton tote of soybeans


Processing Biomass Into Biogas

Tables Of Contents

Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Manures: Understanding the Basic Processes

Biogas Utilization and Cleanup


Biogas generated from anaerobic digestion processes is a clean and environmentally friendly renewable fuel. But it is important to clean, or upgrade, biogas before using it to increase its heating value and to make it useable in some gas appliances such as engines and boilers.

Biogas Utilization

While most large farms use their biogas for heat and power, it is worthwhile to consider all the options before deciding which path to take, including direct sale of biogas to an …