Gauging Farm Energy Sustainability – Table of Contents


How Sustainable are Your Farm Energy Systems?

Learn about sustainability indicators used to gauge and evaluate a farm’s progress toward energy sustainability.

Solar installation at Harlow Farm, Westminster, VT. Photo: Susan Harlow

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What Is a Sustainability Indicator?

Sustainability indicators are measurable or observable features that can be used to test principles and criteria of sustainability. Sustainability indicators could include quantifiable measures of resource use efficiency, energy, food security, land use impacts

Justin Heavey, State University of New York

Justin Heavey is a senior research support specialist for the Willow Project at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, New York. Since 2008, he has been managing energy and sustainability projects in higher education.
In his present work, Justin helps landowners and other stakeholders who grow, use, or are simply interested in bioenergy crops. The expanding willow bioenergy industry in New York State and the Northeast benefits from his technical and

Resources from CenUSA – Sustainable Production and Distribution of Bioenergy for the Central USA

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CenUSA Bioenergy is a coordinated research and education effort investigating the creation of a regional system in the Central US for producing advanced transportation fuels from perennial grasses on land that is either unsuitable or marginal for row crop production. In addition to producing advanced biofuels, the proposed system will improve the sustainability of existing cropping systems by reducing agricultural runoff of nutrients in soil and increasing carbon sequestration.…

Research Summary: Exploring On-Farm Pyrolysis Processing of Biofuels

The USDA-ARS FarmBio3 project explores whether on-farm fast-pyrolysis processing units could be a component of an efficient and cost-effective decentralized system of biofuel production and processing.

FarmBio3 mobile pyrolysis system travels among farms simulating the real-world scenario of multiple on-farm units that convert feedstocks to bio-oil, which is delivered to a regional biorefinery. Photo credit: USDA-ARS Pyrolysis Team.

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Biochar: Prospects of Commercialization

Learn all about biochar–what it is, and how it benefits soils and the climate by sequestering carbon.

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What is Biochar?

Biochar is charred …

U.S. Billion-Ton Update Shows Farms and Forests Have Huge Potential for U.S. Bioenergy Future

U.S. farms and forests have the potential to supply enough biomass to meet the Renewable Fuels Standard and replace more than a third of petroleum use with bioenergy by 2030, according to the U.S. Billion-Ton Update


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NASA Earth Observatory: Where The Trees Are. Photo:
NASA Earth Observatory: Where The Trees Are. Photo: Wikipedia.

Resources from NEWBio: The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium

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Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

    The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio) is a regional network of universities, businesses, and governmental organizations dedicated to building robust, scalable, and sustainable value chains for biomass energy in the Northeast. Driven by the broad societal benefits that sustainable bioenergy value chains could provide, NEWBio aims to overcome existing barriers and dramatically increase the sustainable, cost-effective supply of lignocellulosic biomass while reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing ecosystem services, and building vibrant communities.



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    BCAP Helps Commercialize Shrub Willow for Bioenergy in Northern New York

    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY).
    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY). Photo: Timothy Volk, SUNY ESF.

    Farmers growing shrub willow for bioenergy are helped by a BCAP project in New York State that aims to make the biomass crop more financially viable.





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    Research Summary: Management Practices Impact Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Harvest of Corn Stover for Biofuels

    Residue management and tillage can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from soils during production of corn stover for biofuel.


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    Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

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    Corn stover trial field. Photo: Virginia L. Jin.


    Research Purpose

    Crop residues such as corn stover are on track to make up a large part of our future renewable-energy supply. …