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.
Huggins, D.R., C.E. Kruger, K.M. Painter, D.P. Uberuaga. BioEnergy Research. June 2014, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 598-608.
Jarvis, E. R. Davis, C. Frear. Aug 2013.
Sowers, K., D. Roe, and B. Pan. 2012. Extension Bulletin EM048E.
Sowers, K., D. Roe, and B. Pan. 2011. Extension Bulletin EM037E.
Professor Shulin Chen’s Research Laboratory group at the WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Research efforts include organic waste inventory and characterization; anaerobic digestion of manure and food processing wastes; High Solids Anaerobic Digestion for the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Wastes (OFMSW); recovery of nutrients and fertilizers from organic wastes; and pre-treatment technology for advanced biofuels derived from organic wastes.
Hulbert,S., S. Guy, B. Pan, T. Paulitz, B. Schillinger, D. Wysocki, and K. Sowers. 2011. DRAFT Extension Fact Sheet.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
A Report to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. School of Economic Sciences. WSU. March 2009
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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