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Switchgrass for Biomass Energy. Rob Mitchell USDA-ARS Grain, Forage, and Bioenergy Research Unit Lincoln, Nebraska. Background Establishment Production, Harvest and Storage Switchgrass Production Economics Switchgrass Energy Production Land Requirements and Feedstocks - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Switchgrass for Biomass EnergyRob Mitchell

    USDA-ARSGrain, Forage, and Bioenergy Research UnitLincoln, Nebraska

  • BackgroundEstablishmentProduction, Harvest and StorageSwitchgrass Production EconomicsSwitchgrass Energy ProductionLand Requirements and FeedstocksAnswer Biorefinery QuestionsWhere are We Going?

  • Native to Tallgrass PrairieEcologically functions as a monoculture

  • Switchgrass Biomass EnergyCurrent Goals & ResearchGoalsFull establishment in 1 year with 50% yieldBe at full production (5 t/a) second yearGoal of 10 t/a in Midwest; increase ethanol yield/tonFully document environmental benefitsTools and ProductsWeed control, no-till planting, seed qualityBreeding - Biomass specific cultivars & F1 hybrids, improved conversion, NIRSMolecular biology, cell walls, conversion & seed qualityC sequestration, entomology

  • to this?How do you get from thisEstablishing Switchgrass

  • Is switchgrass feasible for the area?Suitable for dryland corn = suitable for switchgrassPlant 2 to 3 weeks either side of optimum corn planting dateDevelop a good seedbedNo-till seed into soybean stubbleClean till and pack to leave a faint footprintUse high quality certified seed of adapted materialPlant at least 30 PLS per ft2 to 1/2 deepManage weeds ASAP!Pre-emergent application of 1 qt. of atrazine plus 8 oz of quinclorac/acreMow or spray broadleaves with 1-2 qt./a of 2,4-D in summerSpend money on quality seed & weed controlSwitchgrass Establishment Recipe

  • Switchgrass seedling morphology, seedbed firmness, and planting depthSeedlings develop adventitious roots at soil surface not at seed.Seed < 1/2 deepSoft seedbed with packer wheel depressionThe seed is too deep and will have problems emergingPlanting depth} = 1/2.} = 1/2Seed First rain fills the depression} = 1Seed .

  • No-till seeded 57 acres into soybean stubble on 5 May 2006Pre-emergent application of 1 qt. of atrazine plus 8 oz of quinclorac/acreReceived 5 in of rain for the first 90-days after planting (40% of LTA)Mowed & sprayed with 2 qt./acre of 2,4-D to control broadleaf weeds in JulyProduced 2.5 tons/acre near Mead, NE in the establishment year (50% of our yield goal)Seed quality & weed control are critical to economical switchgrass productionWorst-Case Scenario for Switchgrass Establishment6 October 20062.5 tons/acre5 May 2006

  • Worst-Case Scenario for Switchgrass Establishment27 September 20074 tons/acre2 tons/acre regrowth31 July 20074 tons/acre

  • Worst-Case Scenario for Switchgrass Establishment17 October 20085-6 tons/acre~1 ton/acre regrowth7 August 20086 tons/acreAveraged over 4 tons/acre for the planting year and the first 2 production years

  • Switchgrass Harvest & Storage

  • Switchgrass Harvest & Storage

  • 24% DM loss in 12 months3 or 4 wraps reduces spoilageChopping reduces densityBig squares rapidly degrade outsideSwitchgrass Harvest & Storage

  • Major Questions for Perennial Herbaceous Bioenergy CropsCan perennial herbaceous biomass energy crops be produced at a cost which makes their use for biomass energy economically feasible? (Initial goal was to compete with $35/barrel oil.)Are perennial biomass energy crops net energy positive? New Question: Are they greenhouse gas neutral or negative?

  • 31-33 Annual Precipitation15-17 Annual Precipitation2000-2005On-Farm ProductionTrials: 15-20 acre (6-9 ha) fields Cooperating farmers paidto manage fields as biomass energy crops.Northern Plains Field Scale Production and Economics Trial

  • USDA switchgrass study10 locations for 5 years165 acres seededSeeded with commercial drillsDryland sitesHarvested entire field with commercial hay equipment

  • Switchgrass Average Annual Production CostsPerrin et al. 2008Costs are annualized at 10%.

    Cost Item$/Acre$/TonPlanting12.745.74Herbicide Applied12.955.84Fertilizer Applied15.046.78Harvest32.6514.72Total Operating Costs73.3833.08Land Rent59.7026.91Total Cost133.0859.99

  • Previous Switchgrass Producer vs. New Crop ProducerExperience helped producers reduce production costs by $10.86/ton during the 5 production years.Perrin et al. 2008

    Five Year Average Cumulative CostsTotal costs $/tonCosts (no land $) $/tonExperienced (2)$43.13$26.42New crop producer (8)$69.16$37.28

  • Extension Efforts Will Pay DividendsField of Jerry Roitsch near Bristol, South Dakota5-year average yield of 4.2 tons/acreAverage cost of $38/t including land & laborFarm gate feedstock cost was $0.48/galBased on 80 gallons of ethanol per ton, each big bale equals 50 gallons of ethanol

  • Paramount Herbicide vs. No Paramount in Establishment YearApplying Paramount in the establishment year reduced production costs by$11.27/ton for 5 production years, a $124/a return on a $20/a investment.Perrin et al. 2008

    Five Year Average Cumulative CostsTotal costs $/tonCosts (no land $) $/tonParamount used (4)$44.06 $28.35No Paramount (6)$77.22$39.62

  • Year 1 Harvests vs. No Year 1 Harvest ComparisonsPerrin et al. 2008Harvestable yields in the establishment year reduced production costs by$10.71/ton over the 5 production years.

    Five Year Average Cumulative CostsTotal costs $/tonCosts (no land $) $/tonYear 1 Harvest (3)$44.22 $27.61No Year 1 Harvest (7)$72.41$38.32

  • On-farm Switchgrass Production in the Great Plains EnergyPrevious models over-estimated the energy inputs for switchgrass production by as much as 2XSwitchgrass produced 13X more energy as ethanol than was required as energy from petroleumSwitchgrass produced 540% more renewable than non-renewable energy consumed on marginal land when properly managedSwitchgrass biofuel production systems are economically feasible, and energetically positive on marginal cropland in the central USA east of the 100th MeridianSchmer et al. 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

  • Man-made prairiesOne locationSmall-plotsHand-seededIrrigated during establishmentHand-weededHand-harvested - 10cm wide strips

    USDA switchgrass study10 locations67 ha seededSeeded with commercial drillsDryland sitesHarvested entire field with commercial hay equipment

  • Managed switchgrass produced 97% more ethanol yield than man-made prairiesTilman et al., 2006USDA study

    Chart1

    2376276833714434433535180180

    LIHD1406LIHD00

    LI-SW475LI-SW00

    Corn grain (NGP)3066Corn grain (NGP)300300

    Low yielding farms

    Mean yield

    High yielding farms

    Ethanol Yield (L ha-1)

    Ethanol

    Ethanol YieldNet Energy Value

    Estab.2345MeanHarvest YearEstab.2345Mean

    LocationL ha-1LocationMJ L-1

    Lawrence, NE0174619942708.382376.042206Lawrence, NENH20.121.022.121.921.3

    Douglas, NE02311.114943350.142868.822505.92Douglas, NENH20.919.922.321.721.2

    Atkinson, NE05127372765.6821011529Atkinson, NENH17.618.722.421.720.1

    Crofton, NE0109318412765.682395.142024Crofton, NENH20.220.422.522.221.322422.9

    Ethan, SD015053048.362635.82330.22379.86Ethan, SDNH18.821.522.821.221.1589522.9

    Huron, SD173028882517401121012650Huron, SD23.123.622.423.221.422.7172123.11

    Highmore, SD003220.263170.61413.42601.42Highmore, SDNHNH22.522.923.222.950917.6

    Bristol, SD152831093793435546223482Bristol, SD22.020.022.822.623.722.2152022.0

    Streeter, ND01738.11925.283178.242330.22293Streeter, NDNH23.022.121.921.122.0

    Munich, ND33217573117319426362207Munich, ND14.821.521.621.922.720.533114.8

    Mean35916662369321325172388Mean20.020.621.322.522.121.5

    173720.14

    229920.89

    6283.447631579108720.25116243.781184211116.2437811842

    149718.75

    287323.62

    309319.962

    172922.974

    174821.529

    year 3

    198420.969

    148619.863

    73318.672

    183220.426

    3032.421.510

    250422.442

    3203.422.493

    377322.820

    1915.222.064

    310121.616

    year 4

    2694.222.138

    3332.622.273

    2751.222.435

    2751.222.481

    262222.805

    399023.172

    315422.935

    433222.613

    3161.621.928

    317721.899

    year 5

    2363.6021.88

    2853.8021.71

    2090.0021.67

    2382.6022.16

    2318.0021.20

    2090.0021.39

    1406.0023.17

    4598.0023.73

    2318.0021.14

    2622.0022.66

    Tillman

    LIHD

    PV

    224-9.7

    5609.9

    78513.8

    112116.5

    168118.9

    224219.8

    246620.3

    356421.3

    392321.5

    423721.6

    446121.7

    466321.8

    504421.9

    526822

    589622.1

    Ethanol

    00000

    00000

    00000

    00000

    00000

    0000

    0000

    0000

    0000

    0000

    0

    Establishment

    Year 2

    Year 3

    Year 4

    Year 5

    Ethanol Yield (L ha-1)

    NEV (MJ L-1)

    Sheet4

    Sheet4

    3.49160029868.675442076215.336408223416.180257604415.893293201415.68.20.7

    12.339636877310.313779212614.856361377615.824138420415.737378326715.610.11.4

    9.725454322812.548046510116.450400400415.843059601315.611.52.5

    3.34340356516.018424962314.806616559715.407869489814.485707887215.612.34.1

    8.461918922216.487287346716.415248863415.525511324315.612.65.3

    16.320783988614.730770430416.889303944614.235049268215.612.76.2

    15.254652652113.893874536216.734644887414.340253313315.612.86.9

    8.578606338316.80781659817.113186090516.992552954415.612.97.4

    14.796463782814.907603663516.189297540915.377844066515.612.97.8

    15.717420629116.104076983515.943820829115.6138.2

    GREET (10)

    EBAMM (8)

    Pimentel and Patzek (13)

    Ethanol Yield L ha-1

    Ethanol (MJ)/Petroleum (MJ)

    Sheet1

    23.111046880420.968977107322.137734388721.877882463222.91

    17.613179773119.86