Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for Biofuel Production

Mature stand of switchgrass in its third year of production at Michigan State University. Photo: Dennis Pennington.

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

Introduction to Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

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 …

Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) for Biofuel Production

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.

Miscanthus

Giant miscanthus. Photo: Jeff Skousen.

Contents

Abstract

Giant …

Biomass Feedstocks and Energy Independence

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.

Contents

Energy Independence and Security Act

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 was …

Life Cycle Analysis for Biofuels


US energy consumption as of October 2013.
US energy consumption as of October 2013. Photo: Delphi234; Wikimedia Commons.

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

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a tool used to account for inputs and outputs to complex systems. In essence, it is …

Sustainability Standards for Farm Energy

 

Family standing next to a solar installation on their shed. How can biofuel be certified sustainable? Examine guidelines, criteria, and measurable indicators.

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