Developing Energy Crops for Thermal Applications: Optimizing Fuel Quality, Energy Security and GHG Mitigation

  • Roger Samson
  • Claudia Ho Lem
  • Stephanie Bailey Stamler
  • Jeroen Dooper

Abstract

Unprecedented opportunities for biofuel development are occurring as a result of increasing energy security concerns and the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This chapter analyzes the potential of growing energy crops for thermal energy applications, making a case-study comparison of bioheat, biogas and liquid biofuel production from energy crops in Ontario. Switchgrass pellets for bioheat and corn silage biogas were the most efficient strategies found for displacing imported fossil fuels, producing 142 and 123 GJ/ha respectively of net energy gain. Corn ethanol, soybean biodiesel and switchgrass cellulosic ethanol produced net energy gains of 16, 11 and 53 GJ/ha, respectively. Bioheat also proved the most efficient means to reduce GHG emissions. Switchgrass pellets were found to offset 86–91% of emissions compared with using coal, heating oil, natural gas or liquid natural gas (LNG). Each hectare of land used for production of switchgrass pellets could offset 7.6–13.1 tonnes of CO2 annually. In contrast, soybean biodiesel, corn ethanol and switchgrass cellulosic ethanol could offset 0.9, 1.5 and 5.2 tonnes of CO2/ha, respectively.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference

  1. Adler, P. A., Sanderson, M. A., Boateng, A. A., Weimer, P. J., & Jung, H. G. (2006). Biomass yield and biofuel quality of switchgrass harvested in fall and spring. Agron. J., 98, 1518–1525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. De Baere, L. (2007). Dry Continuous Anaerobic Digestion of Energy Crops. (Paper presented at the 2nd International Energy Farming Congress, Papenberg, Germany)Google Scholar
  3. Bakker, R. R., & Elbersen, H. W. (2005). Managing ash content and quality in herbaceous biomass: An analysis from plant to product. (Paper presented at the 14th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Paris, France)Google Scholar
  4. Beadle, C. L., & Long, S. P. (1985). Photosynthesis-Is it limiting to biomass production? Biomass, 8, 119–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berglund, M., & Börjesson, P. (2006). Assessment of energy performance in the life-cycle of biogas production. Biomass and Bioenergy, 30, 254–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black, C. C. (1971). Ecological implications of dividing plants into groups with distinct photosynthetic production capacities. Advanced Ecological Resources, 7, 87–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradley, D. (2006, May). GHG impacts of pellet production from woody biomass sources in BC, Canada. Retrieved July, 2007, fromwww.joanneum.at/iea-bioenergy-task38/projects/task38casestudies/can2-fullreport.pdfGoogle Scholar
  8. Braun, R., & Wellinger, A. (2005). Potential of Co-digestion. (Prepared under IEA Bioenergy, Task 37, Energy from Biogas and Landfill Gas)Google Scholar
  9. Boe A., Bortnem R., & Kephart, K. D. 2000. Quantitative description of the phytomers of big bluestem. Crop Science, 40, 737–741Google Scholar
  10. Burvall, J. (1997). Influence of harvest time and soil type on fuel quality in reed canary grass (Phalaris Arundinacea L.). Biomass and Bioenergy, 12(3), 149–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cassida, K. A., Muir, J. P., Hussey, M. A., Read, J. C., Venuto, B. C., & Ocumpaugh, W. R. (2005). Biofuel component concentrations and yields of Switchgrass in South Central U.S. environments. Crop Science, 45, 682–692Google Scholar
  12. Clark, F. E. (1977). Internal cycling of nitrogen in shortgrass prairie. Ecology, 58, 1322–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crutzen, P., Mosier, A., Smith, K., and Winiwarter, W. 2007. N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. Atmos. Chem. Phys., (7), 11191–11205.Google Scholar
  14. Darley, J., (2004, August). High Noon for Natural Gas: The New Energy Crisis. (Chelsea Green Publishing, ISBN 1-931498-53-9)Google Scholar
  15. Das, M. K., Fuentes, R. G., & Taliaferro, C. M. (2004). Genetic variability and trait relationships in switchgrass. Crop Science, 44, 443–448Google Scholar
  16. Elbersen, H. W., Christian, D. G., Bacher, W., Alexopoulou, E., Pignatelli, V., & van den Berg, D. (2002). Switchgrass Variety Choice in Europe. (Final Report FAIR 5-CT97-3701 “Switchgrass”)Google Scholar
  17. EIA. (2006). Emissions of Greenhouse Gasses in the United States 2005. Energy Information Administration, official energy statistics from the U.S. Government. Retrieved July, 2007, fromhttp://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ ggrpt/index.htmlGoogle Scholar
  18. Farrell, A. E., Plevin, R. J., Turner, B., Jones, A. D., O’Hare, M., & Kammen, D. M. 2006. Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals. Science, 331, 506–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fiedler, F. (2004). The state of the art of small-scale pellet based heating systems and relevant regulations in Sweden, Austria and Germany. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 8, 201–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Finell, M. (2003). The use of reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) as a short fibre raw material for the pulp and paper industry. (Doctoral thesis prepared for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Grafiska Enheten, SLU, Umea, Sweden)Google Scholar
  21. Finell, M., Nilsson, C., Olsson, R., Agnemo, R., & Svensson, S. (2002). Briquetting of fractionated reed canary-grass for pulp production. Industrial Crops and Products, 16(3), 185–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gerin, P. A., Vliegen, F., & Jossart, J. M. (2008). Energy and CO2 balance of maize and grass as energy crops for anaerobic digestion. Bioresource Technology, 99(7), 2620–2627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Girouard, P., Samson, R., & Mehdi, B. (1998). Harvest and Delivered Costs of Spring Harvested Switchgrass. (Final report prepared by REAP-Canada final for Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa Ontario)Google Scholar
  24. Godoy, S., & Chen, H. G. (2004). Potassium release during straw devolatilization. (Paper presented at the 2nd World Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, Florence, Florence, Italy, and WIP-Munich, Munich, Germany)Google Scholar
  25. Goel, K., Eisner, R., Sherson, G., Radiotis, T., & Li., J. (2000). Switchgrass: A potential pulp fibre source. Pulp & Paper-Canada, 101(6), 51–45Google Scholar
  26. Grahn, M., Azar, C., Lindgren, K., Berndes, G., & Gielen, D. (2007). Biomass for heat or as transportation fuel? A comparison between two model-base studies. Biomass & Bioenergy 31, 747–758 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hartmann, H., Turowski, P., Robmann, P., Ellner-Schuberth, F., & Hopf, N. (2007). Grain and straw combustion in domestic furnaces – influences of fuel types and fuel pretreatments. (Paper presented at the 15th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Berlin, Germany)Google Scholar
  28. Heede, R. (2006, May). “LNG Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Cabrillo Deepwater Port: Natural Gas from Australia to California.” (Prepared by Climate Mitigation Services). Retrieved July, 2007, from http://edcnet.org/ProgramsPages/ LNGrptplusMay06.pdfGoogle Scholar
  29. Hill, J., Nelson, E., Tilman, D., Polasky, S., & Tiffany, D. (2006). Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels. PNAS, 30(3), 11206–11210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. House, H. K., DeBruyn, J., & Rodenburg, J. (2007) A Survey of Biogas Production Systems in Europe, and Their Application to North American Dairies. (Paper presented at the Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota)Google Scholar
  31. Hughes, J. D. (2006). Natural gas at the cross roads. Canadian Embassy report. Retrieved Aug, 2007, from http://aspocanada.ca/images/stories/pdfs/hughes_ north_vancouver_nov%2026_ 2006.pdfGoogle Scholar
  32. Igathinathane, C., Womac, A. R., Sokhansanj, S., & Narayan, S. (2007). Size reduction of wet and dry biomass by linear knife grid device. (Paper number 076045 presented at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas)Google Scholar
  33. Iogen Corporation. (2008). Cellulose ethanol. Retrieved Feb, 2008, from http://iogen.ca/ cellulose_ethanol/what_is_ethanol/process.htmlGoogle Scholar
  34. Jaramillo, P., Griffen, M. W., & Matthews, H. S. (2007). Comparative life-cycle air emissions of coal, domestic natural gas, LNG, and SNG for electricity generation. Environmental Science and Technology, 41(17), 6290–6296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jefferson, P. G., McCaughey, W. P., May, K., Woosaree, J., & McFarlane, L. (2004). Potential utilization of native prairie grasses from western Canada as ethanol feedstock. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 84, 1067–1075Google Scholar
  36. Jones, L. H. P., & Handreck, K. A. (1967). Silica in soils, plants and animals. Advances in Agronomy, 19, 107–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jørgensen, U. (1997). Genotypic variation in dry matter accumulation and content of N, K and Cl in Miscanthus in Denmark. Biomass & Bioenergy, 12(3), 155–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jungmeier, G., Canella, L., Stiglbrunner, R., & Spitzer, J. (2000). LCA for comparison of GHG emissions of bio energy and fossil energy systems. (Prepared for Joanneum Research, Institut für Energieforschung, Graz. Report No.± IEF/B/06-99)Google Scholar
  39. Kaack, K., & Schwarz, K-U. (2001). Morphological and mechanical properties of Miscanthus in relation to harvesting, lodging, and growth conditions. Industrial Crops and Products, 14, 145–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Koelling, M. R., & Kucera, C. L. (1965). Dry matter losses and mineral leaching in bluestem standing crop and litter. Ecology, 46, 529–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klass, D. L. (1998). Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals. (London, U.K.: Academic Press)Google Scholar
  42. Kucera, C. L., & Ehrenreich, J. H. (1962). Some effects of annual burning on Central Missouri Prairie. Ecology, 43(2), 334–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lal, R. (2005). World crop residues production and implications of its use as a biofuel. Environment International, 31, 575–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lanning, F. C., & Eleuterius, L. N. (1987). Silica and ash in native plants of the central and Southeastern regions of the United States. Annals of Botany, 60, 361–375Google Scholar
  45. Lanning, F. C., & Eleuterius, L. N. (1989). Silica deposition in some C3 and C4 species of grasses, sedges and composites in the USA. Annals of Botany, 64, 395–410Google Scholar
  46. López, C. P., Kirchmayr, R., Neureiter, M., Braun, R. (2005). Effect of physical and chemical pre-treatments on methane yield from maize silage and grains. (Poster presented at the 4th International Symposium on Anaerobic Digestion of Solid Waste, Copenhagen, Denmark)Google Scholar
  47. Lovins, A. (1977). Soft Energy Paths: Towards a Durable Peace. (San Francisco Friends of the Earth, and Cambridge Massachusetts Ballinger Publishing Co.)Google Scholar
  48. Lynd, L. R., Cushman, J. H., Nichols, R. J., and Wyman, C. E. (1991). Fuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass. Science, 251(4999), 1318–1323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lynd, L. R. (1996). Overview and evaluation of fuel ethanol from cellulosic biomass: Technology, economics, the environment, and policy. Ann. Rev. Energy Environ., 21, 403–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lynd, L. R., & Wang, M. Q. (2004). A product-nonspecific framework for evaluating the potential of biomass-based products to displace fossil fuels. J. Ind. Ecol., 7(3–4), 17–32Google Scholar
  51. Ma, J. F. (2003). Functions of silicon in higher plants. Prog Mol Subcell Biol., 33, 127–47Google Scholar
  52. Ma, J. F., Mitani, N., Nagao, S., Konishi, S., Tamai, K., Iwashita, T., & Yano, M. (2004). Characterization of the silicon uptake system and molecular mapping of the silicon transporter gene in rice. Plant Physiology, 136, 3284–3289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mähnert, P., Heiermann, M., & Linke, B. (2005). Batch- and Semi-continuous Biogas Production from Different Grass Species. (Produced by Leibniz-Institute of Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim, Potsdam, Germany)Google Scholar
  54. Mani, S., Sokhansanj, S., Bi, X., and Turhollow, A. (2006). Economics of producing fuel pellets from biomass. App Eng Agri. 22(3), 421–426.Google Scholar
  55. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI). (2006). Factsheet: Harvesting and Storage of Quality Hay and Silage, Retrieved Aug, 2007, from http://www.gov.mb.ca/ agriculture/ crops/forages/bjc01s02.htmlGoogle Scholar
  56. McLaughlin, S. B., Samson, R., Bransby, D., & Wiselogel, A. (1996). Evaluating physical, chemical and energetic properties of perennial grasses as biofuels. (Paper presented at Bioenergy 96: The 7th National Bioenergy Conference of the South Eastern Regional Biomass Energy Program, Nashville, TN)Google Scholar
  57. Natural Resources Canada, GHGenius version 3.9. (2007). Retrieved July, 2007, from http:// www.ghgenius.ca/Google Scholar
  58. Obernberger, I., & Thek, G. (2004). Physical characterization and chemical composition of densified biomass fuels with regard to their combustion behaviour. Biomass and Bioenergy, 27, 653–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). (2007) Estimated areas, yield, production, average farm price and total farm value of principal field crops, in metic units, annual. Retrieved Feb, 2008, from http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/ stats/crops/estimate_metric.htmGoogle Scholar
  60. Pahkala, K., Mela, T., Hakkola, H., Jarvi, A., & Virkajari, P. (1996). Production and use of agrofibre in Finland. (Agricultural Research Centre of Finland. Part 1 of the Final report for study: Production of agrofibre crops - Agronomy and varieties)Google Scholar
  61. Pahkala, K., & Pihala, M. 2000. Different plant parts as raw material for fuel and pulp production. Industrial Crops and Products, 11, 119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Passalacqua, F., Zaetta, C., Janssone, R., Pigaht, M., Grassi, G., Pastre, O., Sandovar, A., Vegas, L., Tsoutsos, T., Karapanagiotis, N., Fjällström, T., Nilsson, S. & Bjerg, J. (2004). Pellets in southern Europe; The state of the art of pellets utilization in southern Europe: New perspectives of pellets from agri-residues. (Paper presented at the 2nd World Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, ETA-Florence, Florence, Italy, and WIP-Munich, Munich, Germany.)Google Scholar
  63. Parrish, D. J., Wolf, D. D., Fike J. H., & Daniels, W. L. (2003). Switchgrass as a biofuel crop for the upper southeast: Variety trials and cultural improvements. (Oak ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. Final Report for 1997 to 2001, ORNL.SUB-03-19SY163C/01)Google Scholar
  64. Parrish, D. J., & Fike, J. H. (2005). The biology and agronomy of switchgrass for biofuels. Critical Reviews of Plant Sciences, 24, 423–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Paulrud, S. 2004. Upgraded biofuels-effects of quality on processing, handling characteristics, combustion and ash melting. (Doctoral dissertation prepared for the Unit of Biomass Technology and Chemistry, SLU) Acta Universitatis agriculturae Suecia. Agraria, 449 Google Scholar
  66. Paulrud, S., Nilsson, C., & Öhman, M. (2001). Reed canary-grass ash composition and its melting behaviour during combustion. Fuel, 80, 1391–1398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Roth, G., and Undersander, D. (1995). Corn silage production, management and feeding. North Central Regional Publication, 574 Google Scholar
  68. Samson, R., Girouard, P., Omielan, J., & Henning, J. (1993). Integrated production of warm season grasses and agroforestry for biomass production. (Paper presented at Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Industry: The 1st Biomass Conference of the Americas, Golden, CO)Google Scholar
  69. Samson, R. A., & Omielan, J. (1994). Switchgrass: A potential biomass energy crop for ethanol production. (Paper presented at the 13th North American Prairie Conference, Windsor, Ontario, Canada)Google Scholar
  70. Samson, R., & Chen, Y. (1995). Short rotation forestry and the water problem. (Paper presented at the Natural Resources Canada Canadian Energy Plantation Workshop, Ottawa, Ontario)Google Scholar
  71. Samson, R. A., Blais, P-A., Mehdi, B., & Girouard, P. (1999a). Switchgrass Plant Improvement Program for Paper and Agri-Fibre Production in Eastern Canada. (Final report prepared by REAP-Canada for the Agricultural Adaptation Council of Ontario)Google Scholar
  72. Samson, R., Girouard, P., & Mehdi, B. (1999b). Establishment of Commercial Switchgrass Plantations. (Final report prepared by REAP-Canada for Natural Resources Canada)Google Scholar
  73. Samson, R., Drisdelle, M., Mulkins, L., Lapointe, C., & Duxbury, P. (2000). The use of switchgrass as a greenhouse gas offset strategy. (Paper presented at the Fourth Biomass Conference of the Americas, Buffalo, New York)Google Scholar
  74. Samson, R., Mani, S., Boddey, R., Sokhansanj, S., Quesada, D., Urquiaga, S., Reis, V., & Ho Lem, C. (2005). The potential of C4 perennial grasses for developing a global BIOHEAT industry. Critical Reviews in Plant Science, 24, 461–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Samson, R. (2007). Switchgrass Production in Ontario: A Management Guide. Resource Efficient Agricultural Production (REAP) – Canada. Retrieved Aug, 2007, from http://www. reap-canada.com/library/Bioenergy/2007%20SG%20production%20guide-FINAL.pdfGoogle Scholar
  76. Samson, R., Bailey-Stamler, S., & Ho Lem, C. (2007). The Emerging Agro-Pellet Industry in Canada. (Paper presented at the 15th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Berlin, Germany)Google Scholar
  77. Samson, R., Bailey Stamler, S., Dooper, J., Mulder, S., Ingram, V., Clark, K. and Ho Lem, C. (2008a). Analysing Ontario Biofuel Options: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Efficiency and Costs. (Final report prepared by REAP-Canada to the BIOCAP-Canada Foundation, Kingston, Ontario)Google Scholar
  78. Samson, R., Bailey-Stamler, S., & Ho Lem, C. (2008b). Optimization of Switchgrass Management for Commercial Fuel Pellet Production (Final report prepared by REAP-Canada for the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) under the Alternative Renewable Fuels Fund)Google Scholar
  79. Sander, B. (1997). Properties of Danish biofuels and the requirements for power production. Biomass and Bioenergy, 12(3), 173–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sanderson, M. A., Egg, R. P., & Wiselogel, A. E. (1997). Biomass losses during harvest and storage of switchgrass. Biomass & Bioenergy, 12(2), 107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schneider C., & Hartmann, H. (2005). Maize as energy crops for combustion-optimization of fuel supply. (Paper presented at the 14th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Paris, France)Google Scholar
  82. Sheenan, J., Camobreco, V., Duffield, J., Graboski, M., & Shapouri, H. (1998). Life cycle inventory of biodiesel and petroleum diesel for use in an urban bus. (Prepared for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Project SK-580-24089UL).Google Scholar
  83. Sheehan, J., Aden, A., Paustian, K., Killian, K., Brenner, J., Walsh, M., & Nelson, R. (2004). Energy and environmental aspects of using corn stover for fuel ethanol. J. Ind. Ecol., 7(3–4), 117–146Google Scholar
  84. Smith S. J., Wise, M. A., Stokes, G. M., & Ermonds, J. (2004). Near-Term US Biomass Potential: Economics, Land-Use, and Research Opportunities. (Prepared by Battelle Memorial Institute, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Maryland)Google Scholar
  85. Spatari, S., Zhang, Y., & Maclean, H. (2005). Life cycle assessment of Switchgrass and corn stover derived ethanol fuelled automobiles. Environ. Sci. Technol., 39, 9750–9758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. (S&T)2 Consultants Inc. (2002). Assessment of biodiesel and Ethanol diesel blends, greenhouse gas emissions, exhaust emissions, and policy issues. (Prepared for Natural Resources Canada), Retrieved July, 2007, from http://www.greenfuels.org/biodiesel/pdf/res/ 200209_Assessment_of_Biodiesel_and_EDiesel.pdfGoogle Scholar
  87. Takahashi, E., Ma, J. F., & Miyake, Y. (1990). The possibility of silicon as an essential element for higher plants. Comments Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2, 99–122Google Scholar
  88. Uherek, E. (2005). Natural gas: Are pipeline leaks warming our planet? Atmospheric Composition Change (ACCENT). Retrieved Aug, 2007, from http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/ Nr_3_Sept__2__5_methane/energy/R__Methane_emission_from_pipelines_4pd.htmlGoogle Scholar
  89. Van Der Vorm, P. D. J. (1980). Uptake of Si by five plant species, as influenced by variations in Si-supply. Plant and Soil, 56, 153–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Venuto, B. C. (2007). Producing biomass from sorghum and sorghum by sudangrass hybrids. (Paper presented at the 2nd International Energy Farming Congress, Papenberg, Germany)Google Scholar
  91. Von Felde, A. (2007). Advances of energy crops from the viewpoint of the breeder. (Paper presented at the 2nd International Energy Farming Congress, Papenberg, Germany)Google Scholar
  92. Wang, M., Wu, M., & Huo, H. (2007). Life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emission impacts of different corn ethanol plant types. Environmental Research Letters, 2, 1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. White, E. M. (1973). Overwinter changes in the percent Ca, Mg, K, P and in vegetation and mulch in an eastern South Dakota prairie. Agronomy Journal, 65, 680–681Google Scholar
  94. Zan, C. (1998). Carbon Storage in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Short-Rotation Willow (Salix alba x glatfelteri L.) Plantations in Southwestern Quebec. (Masters Thesis prepared for the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)Google Scholar
  95. Zwart, K., Oudendag, D. & Kuikman, P. (2007). Sustainability of co-digestion. (Paper presented at the 2nd International Energy Farming Congress, Papenberg, Germany)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Samson
    • 1
  • Claudia Ho Lem
    • 1
  • Stephanie Bailey Stamler
    • 1
  • Jeroen Dooper
    • 1
  1. 1.Resource Efficient Agricultural Production (REAP) – CanadaBox 125 Centennial Centre CCB13QuebecCanada

Personalised recommendations