Read the full story from North Carolina State University.
The NC Department of Agriculture funds research and development of second-generation bioenergy crops through the NC Bioenergy Initiative. While biomass crops like corn, sugarcane, and grasses offer NC growers an attractive renewable energy option, agricultural and environmental concerns suggest that biomass crop production could cannibalize commodity crop acreage or environmentally sensitive forests and wetlands. Biomass crops are typically designated for ‘marginal’ agricultural land, but there has been no explicit agreement on the term’s definition.
In the first stage of an ongoing bioenergy research project, NC State Professor of Soil Physics and Hydrology, Josh Heitman, and his research team sought to establish practical criteria to identify marginal agricultural land in North Carolina.
May 12, 2021, 10 am CDT
Pedro Ortiz-Toral discusses bio-derived diesel and biomass conversion
Biomass can be used to produce clean alternative transportation fuels that maintain the energy density and storability advantages of liquid fuels while offering unique solutions for difficult-to-decarbonize sectors such as marine transportation and aviation.
Transformational technologies that produce low-carbon fuels from renewable resources are being demonstrated at facilities all around the world. This engaging webinar will present insight on near-market and other improved process technologies that can even enable carbon negative energy when combined with carbon sequestration.
Read the full story at the Daily Nonpariel.
Researchers at Iowa State University are working with others to determine new methods of turning biomass and manure into fuel.
The key to the project is using anaerobic digestion to generate renewable natural gas, according to Mark Mba Wright, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State.
Iowa State joined with Penn State University and Roeslein Alternative Energy in getting a five-year, $10 million grant from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for the project.
April 21, 2021, noon CDT
This webinar will feature an opportunity to meet the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) acting director, chief scientist, and chief engineer. They will detail BETO’s research and development efforts to enable the U.S. bioeconomy. The panel of speakers includes:
- Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Acting Director
- Dr. Jay Fitzgerald, Chief Scientist
- Dr. Reyhaneh Shenassa, Chief Engineer
Join the panel as they discuss high priority BETO topics including:
- BETO program overview
- Plastics recycling initiatives
- Waste-to-energy efforts
- Engaging farmers as clean energy partners
- Carbon dioxide utilization
- Advancements in marine and aviation biofuels.
Read the full story at Biomass Magazine.
Lesquerella (a.k.a. Fendler’s bladderpod and Yellow Top) is a member of the mustard family that’s native to the U.S. Southwest. But Agricultural Research Service scientists are now eyeing it as a home-grown source of butanol.
Butanol is a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline that was produced worldwide until after World War II, when making this fuel from petroleum sources proved more efficient than fermenting it from corn and molasses.
Now, using the latest advances in fermentation and product-recovery technology, a team at ARS’ National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, hopes to rekindle the production of butanol as a biobased fuel, among other groups.
Read the full story from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutron scattering and supercomputing to better understand how an organic solvent and water work together to break down plant biomass, creating a pathway to significantly improve the production of renewable biofuels and bioproducts.
The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on a previously unknown nanoscale mechanism that occurs during biomass deconstruction and identifies optimal temperatures for the process.Associated journal article: Sai Venkatesh Pingali, Micholas Dean Smith, Shih-Hsien Liu, Takat B. Rawal, Yunqiao Pu, Riddhi Shah, Barbara R. Evans, Volker S. Urban, Brian H. Davison, Charles M. Cai, Arthur J. Ragauskas, Hugh M. O’Neill, Jeremy C. Smith, Loukas Petridis (2020). “Deconstruction of biomass enabled by local demixing of cosolvents at cellulose and lignin surfaces.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (29) 16776-16781; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1922883117
Read the full story from the University of Illinois.
Research on energy production from biomass usually focuses on the amount of energy generated. But it is also important to consider how much energy goes into the process, a component that is often neglected. A study from the University of Illinois takes a look at the bioconversion efficiency of two products often used as biomass for energy production, miscanthus giganteus and sugarcane bagasse.
Read the full story at Ensia.
By upcycling biomass, innovators aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the economic viability of farming
Read the full story from DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Biochemists have discovered two ways that autophagy, or self-eating, controls the levels of oils in plant cells. The study describes how this cannibalistic-sounding process actually helps plants survive, and suggests a way to get bioenergy crops to accumulate more oil.
Read the full story in GreenBiz.
Climate change is an urgent threat to societies around the world, driven by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels such as oil. One of the most effective ways to curb emissions is to replace these energy sources with others that are carbon neutral or even carbon negative — that is, technologies that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they put in.
Bioenergy, or energy derived from organic matter, usually plants, is an attractive option. The U.S. already derives 5 percent of transportation fuel from bioenergy, mostly corn. Even jet fuel could be produced from specially engineered crops, potentially balancing out 3 percent of the world’s human-made emissions.
Because the world population and its demand for food continues to rise, there might not be enough conventional farmland to grow crops for both food and bioenergy. One solution is to grow bioenergy crops on marginal land, which isn’t good enough to grow food. The logical conundrum: If this soil isn’t good, how can we grow anything on it that is reasonably productive?