Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Growing sorghum for biofuel

11.11.2010
Iowa State researchers examine the efficiencies and environmental impacts of growing sorghum for ethanol

Conversion of sorghum grass to ethanol has increased with the interest in renewable fuel sources. Researchers at Iowa State University examined 12 varieties of sorghum grass grown in single and double cropping systems. The experiment was designed to test the efficiency of double cropping sorghum grass to increase its yield for biofuel production.

The author of the report, Ben Goff, found that using sorghum from a single-cropping system was more effective for the production of ethanol. Since most of the ethanol currently produced in the United States is derived from corn, Goff suggests that corn may not be able to meet the energy needs of the country. According to the study, only 15 to 25% of the energy requirements would be fulfilled using corn or starch-based ethanol; however, ethanol produced from cellulose could be more effective than previous biofuels.

Goff states that from a production standpoint, growing sorghum as a sole crop is more efficient for ethanol production, however, it remains to be seen whether the favorable long-term environmental benefits, such as reduced erosion potential, of the double-cropping systems merits the reduced total biomass production.

Although certain genotypes of sorghum from the double-cropping system yielded total biomass equal to those in the single-cropping study, all of the sorghum varieties in the single-cropping system had consistently higher ethanol yields.

The author theorizes that these altered chemical compositions could be attributed to the different cropping systems.

Goff recommends that further research on double-cropping systems for ethanol production should focus on efforts to maximize production of sorghum, such as incorporating a winter crop that matures earlier in the season. This would allow planting of the sorghum closer to its optimal date and capitalize on its ability to produce greater and higher-quality biomass over a greater portion of the growing season.

This study was funded by the Iowa Energy Center and published in the November/December 2010 issue of Agronomy Journal from the American Society of Agronomy.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at www.agronomy.org/publications/aj/abstracts/102/6/1586.

A peer-reviewed international journal of agriculture and natural resource sciences, Agronomy Journal is published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy, with articles relating to original research in soil science, crop science, agroclimatology and agronomic modeling, production agriculture, and software. For more information visit: www.agronomy.org/publications/aj

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org

Further reports about: Agronomy Iowa chemical composition cropping systems ethanol production

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>