Biofuels

Producing energy (power, heat, and fuels) and products (i.e. chemicals, nutrients, fiber) from biomass has become a relatively controversial issue. What is lost in that controversy is that bioenergy and bioproducts can help improve the sustainability of our agriculture, food systems and rural communities through diversification (economic and biological); recovery and recycling of carbon; recovery of nutrients and energy from organic wastes; reduction of environmental pollutants; and generation of income and investment opportunities for farmers and rural communities.

The Pacific Northwest is rich in it’s biological diversity — both in natural systems and agricultural systems — which provides a valuable resource base for developing sustainable, scale-appropriate technologies and products that reduce environmental pollution, produce renewable energy and products – many of which can be recycled into agricultural production, and generate income for rural communities. CSANR has helped to develop a significant research capacity in bioenergy and bioproducts — especially focusing on recovery and recycling of organic waste materials for sustainable end uses in agriculture.

Below are links and resources specific to biofuels.  Additional bioenergy links are available on the Anaerobic Digestion and Biochar pages.

Featured Biofuels

Additional Biofuels

  • Camelina Production in the Dryland Pacific Northwest

    Hulbert,S., S. Guy, B. Pan, T. Paulitz, B. Schillinger, D. Wysocki, and K. Sowers. 2011. DRAFT Extension Fact Sheet.

  • 2011 Oilseed Production Workshops

    Three oilseed crop production workshops were held the last week of January 2011 at Okanogan, Reardan and Colfax, Washington. Presenters included regional producers, university researchers, agency personnel, and industry representatives. Attendance surpassed 250 during the three days, indicating a renewed interest in utilizing oilseed crops for rotation benefits, potential economic advantages, high quality meal for livestock, and ‘home-grown’ biodiesel.

  • Pacific Regional Biomass Energy Partnership

    This is a 6-state effort supported jointly by the State Energy Offices and the US Department of Energy that provides a clearinghouse for information on bioenergy in the region. It is the repository for a number of research reports and tools developed by CSANR and our colleagues.

  • Biofuels Cropping Systems Research and Extension Project

    Pacific Northwest cropping systems are dominated by irrigated specialty crops (ie. fruits and vegetables), high quality forages, and a dryland cereal grain system (primarily wheat). It is highly unlikely that we will ever seen the fence-row to fence-row production of commodity crops that fit the model of first generation biofuel crops (ie. corn and soybeans). However, a number of interesting alternative crops that could be used for first or second generation biofuels / bioproducts could prove to be interesting options that enable farmers to manage their current cropping systems more sustainably. For instance, the brassica crops (canola, mustard, camelina, etc.) are a valuable rotational crop for wheat by providing biological and management tools that enable producers to break up weed and disease cycles that affect wheat production. Some of the high-biomass producing grasses could provide tools to both dryland and irrigated producers to restore degraded soils. A long-term biofuels croppping systems research project to develop and evaluate the use of biofuel crops in Washington cropping systems (statewide) was established in 2007.

  • Biofuel Economics and Policy for Washington State

    This report is a comprehensive response to 2007 Washington State legislation (HB 1303) that tasked Washington State University to 1) analyze the types and corresponding amounts of biofuel in the state and 2) recommend viable incentive programs to promote biofuel market development. Inside you will find policy recommendations based on analysis of a broad set of policy options, including renewable fuel standards and subsidies, carbon taxes, as well as approaches to support research, implementation of new technologies, and creation of infrastructure.

  • WA Biomass Inventory

  • Precision Conservation: site-specific trade-offs of harvesting wheat residues for biofuel feedstocks

    Huggins, D.R., & Kruger, C.E. (2010). In R. Khosia (Ed.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture. 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, Denver, CO. Colorado State University.

  • Bioenergy as an Agricultural GHG Mitigation Strategy in Washington State

    Chapter 22 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at http://csanr.wsu.edu/pages/Climate_Friendly_Farming_Final_Report/.

  • Potential for a Sugar Beet Ethanol Industry in Washington State

    A Report to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. School of Economic Sciences. WSU. March 2009

  • Organic Waste to Resources Research and Pilot Project Report: Converting Washington Lignocellulosic Rich Urban Waste to Ethanol

    Rick Gustafson, Renata Bura, Joyce Cooper, Ryan McMahon, Elliott Schmitt, and Azra Vajzovic, September 2009. This study investigated the potential of producing ethanol from three primary sources: mixed waste paper, yard trimmings, and a laboratory prepared mixture (50/50 food & paper) representing MSW. Pretreatment consisted of dilute acid hydrolysis (mixed paper and MSW), and steam explosion (yard waste). Ethanol yields of 105, 90 and 55 gal/ton were found for the MSW, mixed paper, and yard waste. A preliminary Life Cycle Assessment showed that overall environmental impacts of ethanol production from MSW are highly beneficial compared to landfill. Conversion of the MSW mixture to ethanol was found to be economically viable.

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External Links

Some WSU Extension websites provide links to external sites for the convenience of users.  These external sites are not managed by WSU Extension.  Furthermore, WSU Extension does not review, control or take responsibility for the content of these sites, nor do these sites implicitly or explicitly represent official positions and policies of WSU Extension.