Day: December 26, 2012

Comparing Corn Stover and Switchgrass Biochar: Characterization and Sorption Properties

Steven C. Peterson, Michael Appell, Michael A. Jackson, Akwasi A. Boateng (2013). “Comparing Corn Stover and Switchgrass Biochar: Characterization and Sorption Properties.” Journal of Agricultural Science 5(1), 8 p.

A switchgrass biochar (SB) produced by fast pyrolysis and a corn stover biochar (CSB) from a slow pyrolysis process were mechanically milled and characterized. Both of these biochars are very cost-effective and originate as residues from bioenergy production and the corn industry, respectively. These two biochars were evaluated for their sorptive properties with both water and the estrogen containing compounds estrone, β-estradiol, and zearalenone via batch rebinding assays in salt solutions. Although CSB had greater total surface area than SB, SB was a more porous biochar, indicated by its greater micropore surface area. For both water and all estrogen containing compounds, SB had better sorptive capability, most likely due to its higher micropore surface area.These results suggest ball milled biochars from switchgrass and corn stover offer promise for a sustainable approach to removing toxins from water.

Bioenergy Assessment Toolkit

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Here we describe a process by which bioenergy opportunities can be assessed along with a set of resources to assist in this process. The first step in identifying bioenergy opportunities in a given area is to examine feedstock availability — their quantity, location, and costs. An assessment of biomass resources is best followed by an assessment of the potential markets and competition for those feedstocks. This step includes technology evaluation, high-level cost estimates, assessment of socio-economic and environmental impacts, as well as review of existing/proposed policies and import/export opportunities. Once a promising bioenergy opportunity is identified, a detailed feasibility study can be performed to determine its economic viability–or a roadmap is developed to outline steps necessary for implementation of national research, development, and deployment efforts.

Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services

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Plant and animal species are shifting their geographic ranges and the timing of their life events – such as flowering, laying eggs or migrating – at faster rates than researchers documented just a few years ago, according to a technical report on biodiversity and ecosystems used as scientific input for the 2013 Third National Climate Assessment.

The report, Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services, synthesizes the scientific understanding of the way climate change is affecting ecosystems, ecosystem services and the diversity of species, as well as what strategies might be used by natural resource practitioners to decrease current and future risks. More than 60 federal, academic and other scientists, including the lead authors from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Wildlife Federation and Arizona State University in Tempe, authored the assessment.

“These geographic range and timing changes are causing cascading effects that extend through ecosystems, bringing together species that haven’t previously interacted and creating mismatches between animals and their food sources,” said Nancy Grimm, a scientist at ASU and a lead author of the report…

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security

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The task force examined the implications of climate change from a global perspective,with a special focus on the African continent, and makes recommendations that can improve the U.S. approach to addressing the many challenges of climate change. First, they identified a need for a strong climate information system database, managed by the Department of Defense. Second, the task force recommends a whole of government approach to mitigating the effects of
climate change and highlights the importance of engaging with international leaders in identifying global solutions.

Residential Ground Source Heat Pumps with Integrated Domestic Hot Water Generation: Performance Results from Long-Term Monitoring

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Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) show promise for reducing house energy consumption, and a desuperheater can potentially further reduce energy consumption where the heat pump from the space conditioning system creates hot water. Two unoccupied houses were instrumented to document the installed operational space conditioning and water heating efficiency of their GSHP systems. This report discusses instrumentation methods and field operation characteristics of the GSHPs, compares manufacturers’ values of the coefficients of performance calculated from field measured data for the two GSHPs, and compares the measured efficiency of the desuperheater system to other domestic hot water systems.