Optimizing Feedstock Logistics and Assessment of Hydrologic Impacts for Sustainable Bio-Energy Production
MetadataShow full item record
Rising world petroleum prices and global warming are contributing to interest in renewable energy sources, including energy produced from agricultural crops and waste sources of biomass. A network of small mobile pyrolysis units may be the most cost effective system to convert biomass from agricultural feedstocks to bio-crude oil. Mobile pyrolysis units could be moved to the feedstock production fields thereby greatly simplifying feedstock logistics. In the North Central (NC) region of the U.S., possible feedstocks are corn stover, energy sorghum, and switchgrass. A grid-based Geographic Information System (GIS) program was developed to identify optimum locations for mobile pyrolysis units based on feedstock availability in the NC region. Model builder was used to automate the GIS analysis. Network analysis was used to find the best route to move the mobile pyrolysis units to new locations and to identify the closest refinery to transport the bio-crude oil. To produce bioenergy from feedstocks, the removal of biomass from agricultural fields will impact the hydrology and sediment transport in rural watersheds. Therefore, the hydrologic effects of removing corn stover from corn production fields in Illinois (IL) were evaluated using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The SWAT model was calibrated and validated for streamflow and sediment yields in the Spoon River basin in IL using observed data from the USGS. The modeling results indicated that as residue removal rates increased, evapotranspiration (ET) and sediment yields increased, while streamflows decreased. Biochar is a carbon-based byproduct of pyrolysis. To ensure that the mobile pyrolysis system is economically and environmental sustainable, the biochar must be land applied to the feedstock production fields as a soil amendment. An assessment of hydrologic changes due to the land application of biochar was made using the SWAT model in the Spoon River basin and changes in soil properties due to incorporation of biochar into the soil obtained from laboratory experiments by Cook et al. (2012). Model simulations indicated that a biochar application rate of 128 Mg/ha decreased water yield, and sediment yield in surface runoff and increased soil moisture and ET.
corn stover, energy soghum
Ha, Mi-Ae 1979- (2012). Optimizing Feedstock Logistics and Assessment of Hydrologic Impacts for Sustainable Bio-Energy Production. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from