FAQ Categories

CenUSA Bioenergy perennial energy crops

The primary energy crops that will be developed and evaluated by CenUSA Bioenergy are switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash). For additional information on switchgrass and biofuel production see the eXtension article "Switchgrass for Biofuel Production": www.extension.org/pages/26635/switchgrass-for-biofuel-production

Producing biofuels

Switchgrass, like a number of other warm-season grasses, can produce high-quality forage. Early season harvesting produces the highest quality. As the production season progresses, crude protein content quickly declines. If switchgrass is allowed to mature and become fibrous, forage quality will suffer drastically. Switchgrass can be grazed by beef and dairy cattle, but other forages could be more acceptable for given resource situations. Switchgrass hay is not recommended for horses. Additional details can be found in the publication, Using Switchgrass for Forage. In evaluating the economics of grazing and establishing switchgrass in anticipation of a market for biomass, the producer should feel fairly confident the biomass market may develop within a reasonable time period. Contributors: Clark Garland and Tina Johnson, University of Tennessee

Producing switchgrass for energy generally occurs under some form of contractual arrangement with the end user. Due to potential risk, farmers should establish switchgrass after they have obtained a production contract with anticipated satisfactory returns, or have plans for an alternative use for the crop. For more information on switchgrass production see Switchgrass for Biofuel Production Contributors: Clark Garland and Tina Johnson, University of Tennessee

We have selected advanced pyrolytic conversion to produce biofuels from perennial grasses. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen to produce an energy-rich liquid called bio-oil, a flammable gas mixture, and a carbon-rich and nutrient-rich solid called biochar.

USDA AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Vision

AFRI stands for "Agricultural Food and Research Initiative"and is part of the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture. For information of the AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Program and it's long term vision visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/plants/sustain_bioenergy_afri.html

eXtension - Growing Switchgrass

Get the answer to this important question from eXtension and CenUSA Collaborator Rob Mitchell at http://bit.ly/1dVIOzZ

Get the answer to this important question from eXtension and CenUSA CoPd Rob Mitchell at http://bit.ly/19iIgX9

Producing Biomass

Currently, there is no open market for switchgrass. Switchgrass for biofuel is normally produced under a contractual arrangement. After a person has a satisfactory contract, the producer should consult with the end user to confirm product requirements and specifications, such as plant variety and in what form the switchgrass is to be harvested. For more information see Biomass Feedstocks and Energy Independence and Feedstocks for Biofuel Production. Contributors: Clark Garland and Tina Johnson, University of Tennessee (Credit: eXtension)

Switchgrass is a perennial grass native to North America. There are a number of considerations regarding production methods. Switchgrass takes as much as 2-3 years to reach a fully established, mature stand. Additional details regarding production and harvesting can be found at Switchgrass for Biofuel Production. You will find links to additional resources at this site. Contributors: Clark Garland and Tina Johnson, University of Tennessee. (Credit eXtension)

Biomass Harvest & Storage

Yes, tillage practices such as no-till and reduced-till have been found to mitigate the production of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, two major atmospheric greenhouse gases.

For more detailed information, see this article on Management Practices Impact Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Harvest of Corn Stover for Biofuels. Contributor: Virginia L. Jin, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service. (Credit: eXtension)

In general, higher rates of residue removal decrease greenhouse gas emissions because there is less carbon and nitrogen returned to the soil. However, producers must take into account other impacts of stover removal, including a higher risk of soil erosion or lower soil productivity.

For more detailed information, see this article on Management Practices Impact Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Harvest of Corn Stover for Biofuels. Contributor: Virginia L. Jin, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service. (Credit: eXtension)

Get the answer to this important question from eXtension and CenUSA CoPd Kevin Shinners at http://www.extension.org/pages/68094/how-high-should-i-cut-switchgrass-i-am-growing-it-as-a-bioenergy-crop

Get the answer to this important question from eXtension and CenUSA CoPd Kevin Shinners at http://bit.ly/18DqvCx

Get the answer to this important question from eXtension and CenUSA Collaborator Amy Kohmetscher at http://bit.ly/13dVJbe