Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shaping the Nation’s Renewable Energy Future

21.07.2008
Traditional economies may suggest that bigger is better, but the Oklahoma State University Biofuels Team has received widespread recognition for cautioning that is not the case with all forms of renewable energy.

“Our vision of the future intersection of energy and agriculture involves a decentralized energy production system,” said Danielle Bellmer, OSU food processing engineer with the Robert M. Kerr Food and Ag Products Center and coordinator of the team’s development efforts with sweet sorghum ethanol.

The decentralized system would consist of dispersed energy generation plants, with potentially a different technology and feedstock combination in every region of the country, and even areas of some states such as Oklahoma, one of only four states in the nation to have more than 10 distinct ecological regions.

It is a message that has received notice at the highest levels. The OSU Biofuels Team was among the 13 programs nationwide honored as a Grand Challenge recipient by the U.S. government at the 2nd Annual Bio Energy Awareness Days event in Washington D.C., June 19-22.

Bellmer said decentralization allows for optimum technology selection, matching a region to the appropriate resources and generating local solutions for the fulfillment of energy needs without negatively affecting food and fiber production.

“Diversification of feedstocks leads to improved logistics and reduced risks associated with fueling huge energy production systems, particularly important for the low-density biomass that potentially may be used in agriculture-based energy production,” she said.

In addition, many byproducts associated with renewable energy production will be available for beneficial, cost-effective local uses in a decentralized system. For example, appropriate crop residues not used in the energy process potentially could be used in feeding livestock.

Transportation costs are reduced threefold: in the feedstock supply chain, distribution of the final product and in the dispersal of byproducts or waste products.

One important feature is that a decentralized system helps to disperse monetary gains, particularly into local economies, said Ray Huhnke, biosystems and agricultural engineer who coordinates OSU’s multi-college, multi-institutional biofuels effort.

“If agriculture is to play a significant role in the future of renewable energy, there must be a considerable benefit to America’s agribusiness operators and rural communities,” he said.

As new industries are introduced into communities, the demand on local utilities can be significant. For example, large water supplies may be required for processing, as well as increased wastewater treatment capacity.

“A decentralized system provides a better means to distribute the burden and reduce the effect on local municipalities,” Huhnke said.

Then there are the national security concerns. Dependence on a small number of energy sources makes the United States vulnerable to potential attacks on the nation’s energy supply. Diversification reduces that risk.

“The renewable energy landscape will be a mosaic of diverse elements, meeting specific needs at the local, state, regional and national levels. Our state and federally mandated land-grant mission makes the university well suited to help shape America’s energy future,” said Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Division research into biomass fuel-source improvement in the early 1990s kicked off OSU’s longstanding involvement in biofuels development, years before President Bush brought biofuels into the national consciousness with his January 2006 State of the Union address.

“For most people, the conversation about biofuels is a rather recent topic,” Whitson said. “OSU has been working for years to develop the necessary tools and relevant expertise to help community leaders and residents make sound decisions about renewable energy development while balancing economic, social and environmental considerations.”

The OSU Biofuels Team is comprised of scientists and engineers within the division; the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology; the University of Oklahoma; Mississippi State University and Brigham Young University.

“Our being honored as a Grand Challenge winner at this summer’s national Bio Energy Awareness Days event in Washington D.C. is another example of the university’s recognized leadership in biobased product development and technology transfer,” Whitson said.

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating. Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Donald Stotts | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.okstate.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>