Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native warm-season grass that is a leading biomass crop in the United States. More than 70 years of experience with switchgrass as a hay and forage crop suggest switchgrass will be productive and sustainable on rain-fed marginal land east of the 100th meridian. Long-term plot trials and farm-scale studies in the Great Plains and plot trials in the …
How much energy does it take to produce biodiesel, compared to the energy in the fuel itself? And what is the total environmental impact of biodiesel production? These questions can be answered using a technique called “life cycle analysis.”
Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a relatively recent tool, growing in popularity, that is used to estimate the environmental, energy, and economic performance of a product or a system. In essence, it is a budgeting process that accounts for all inputs …
Looking for a perennial biomass crop that grows well on marginal land, needs little fertility, and weed management only during establishment? Research on giant miscanthus shows it produces twice the biomass of switchgrass.
Giant miscanthus. Photo: Jeff Skousen.
- Introduction – What Is Giant Miscanthus?
- Current and Potential Use as a Biofuel
- Biology and Adaptation
- Production and Agronomic Information
- Potential Yields (Tonnage and Energy Content)
- Production Challenges
- Environmental/Sustainability Issues
- Additonal Resources
- Contributors to this Article
A large increase of biofuel production is necessary to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard set in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). This article explores the feedstock portfolio required to do the job.
|Switchgrass a source of biomass energy. Photo: Dennis Pennington, Bioenergy Educator, Michigan State University.|
- Energy Independence and Security Act
- Biomass Defined
- Biomass Resource Potential
- The Future of Biomass Feedstocks
Energy Independence and Security Act
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 was …
US energy consumption as of October 2013. Photo: Delphi234; Wikimedia Commons.
Explore life cycle analysis to gauge biofuels’ benefits.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Life Cycle Analysis
- Determining the Boundaries to Life Cycle Analysis
- Additional Topics on Life Cycle Analysis of Biofuels
Introduction to Life Cycle Analysis
Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a tool used to account for inputs and outputs to complex systems. In essence, it is …
How can biofuel be certified sustainable? Examine guidelines, criteria, and measurable indicators.
|Windmills on a farm. Photo: Farm Energy Community of Practice.|
Table of Contents
- Sustainability Standards: Principles, Criteria, and Indicators
- Sustainable Biofuel Systems
- Greenhouse Gases
- Production Efficiency and Net Energy Balance
- “Food versus Fuel” and Food Security
- Indirect Land Use Impacts
- Water Use and Quantity
- Water Quality
- Air Quality
- Biodiversity and Ecosystems
- Soil Productivity
- Social Standards