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Cellulosic Biofuel Significantly Mitigate Climate Change (Int'l Study)
Biomass. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Date: 2020-03-11
A recent long-term field study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Michigan State University (MSU) has found cellulosic biofuels derived from switchgrass, giant miscanthus, poplar trees, maize residuals, restored native prairie, and a combination of grasses and vegetation that grows spontaneously following field abandonment, could significantly mitigate global warming by reducing carbon emissions.

The study found when compared with petroleum only emissions, cellulosic ethanol was "78--290 better in reducing carbon emissions; ethanol was 204--416 pct improved, biomass powered electric vehicles powered by biomass was 74--303 pct cleaner and biomass-powered electric vehicles combined with CSS was 329--558 pct superior." The research will next assess other environmental and economic aspects of bioenergy crops.

The study was conducted at Michigan State University's (MSU) Kellogg Biological Station and the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Research Station which is part of the U.S. DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Financial support was provided by the U.S. DOE Office of Science, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation and Michigan State University AgBioResearch. (Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PR, EurekaAlerts, 9 Mar.,2020) Contact: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (212) 302-6443, info@aabgu.org, www.aabgu.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic Ethnol,  Biomass ,  Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


Diverse Biofeedstock Ethanol Yields Investigated (R&D Report)
Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Date: 2018-11-16
Biorefineries are picky eaters. They only consume one or two types of plant matter. Researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison processed and experimentally measured ethanol production from five different herbaceous feedstocks. They examined two annuals (corn stover and energy sorghum) along with three perennials (switchgrass, miscanthus, and restored prairie). They determined that a lignocellulosic ethanol refinery could use a range of plant types without having a major impact on the amount of ethanol produced per acre, or per land area.

Many biorefineries consume one, or sometimes two, feedstocks grown and harvested nearby. The feedstock contains lignocellulose. That chemical is processed and fermented into biofuels or bioproducts. Accepting a variety of feedstocks could improve the refinery's environmental footprint, economics, and logistics. The team's study showed that a lignocellulosic refinery could be relatively agnostic in terms of the feedstocks used.

Refineries to convert biomass into fuels often rely on just one feedstock. If the refineries could accept more than one feedstock, it would greatly benefit refinery operation. Scientists investigated how five different feedstocks affected process and field-scale ethanol yields. Two annual crops (corn stover and energy sorghum) and three perennial crops (switchgrass, miscanthus, and restored prairie) were pretreated using ammonia fiber expansion, hydrolyzed, and fermented separately using yeast or bacteria.

Researchers found that both biomass quality and biomass yield affected the amount of ethanol each acre produces. However, the effect differed. Biomass quality was the main driver for the ethanol yields for high-yielding crops, such as switchgrass. Biomass yield was the main driver for the ethanol yields for low-productivity crops, such as corn stover. Therefore, to increase ethanol yield for high-yielding crops, focusing efforts on improving biomass quality or conversion efficiency may be prudent.

For low-yielding crops, focusing on increasing biomass yield may be the best strategy. When measuring the amount of ethanol produced during fermentation, most feedstocks fell within a similar range, especially when scientists used bacteria to ferment the biomass. In total, the results of this study suggest that a lignocellulosic refinery may use a variety of feedstocks with a range of quality without a major negative impact on field-scale ethanol yields. (Source: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, US DOE, 12 Nov., 2018) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444, www.glbrc.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  US DOE,  Biofuel Feedstock,  ,  

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