, Volume 113, Issue 1-3, pp 55-70

A new class of plants for a biofuel feedstock energy crop

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Abstract

Directly burnable biomass to be used primarily in steam boilers for power production has been researched and demonstrated in a variety of projects in the United states. The biomass typically comes from wood wastes, such as tree trimmings or the byproducts of lumber production, or from a cash crop, grown by farmers. Of this latter group, the main emphasis has been utilizing corn stover, or a prairie grass called switchgrass, or using tree seedlings such as willow. In this article, I propose an alternative to these energy crops that consists of several different herbaceous plants with the one consistent property that they annually generate and appreciable bulk of dried-down burnable mass. The fact that they are a set of plants (nine are offered as candidates) gives this energy crop a great deal of flexibility as far as growing condition and annual harvest time line. Their predicted yield is impressive and leads to speculation that they can be economically feasible.