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The Alternative World of Biofuels

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The Alternative World of Biofuels Hailey DeVries IB Major * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Ethanol: A Biofuel Form of alcohol currently used to produce alternative fuel ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Alternative World of Biofuels


1
The Alternative World of Biofuels
  • Hailey DeVries
  • IB Major

2
Ethanol A Biofuel
  • Form of alcohol currently used to produce
    alternative fuel for cars.
  • USA second leading producer worldwide (after
    Brazil sugar cane).
  • In past years, dramatic increase in the amount of
    ethanol produced.

3
How is it made from corn?
1. Grow and collect grain.
2. Grind kernels into meal.
3. Heat and enzymes convert starch to sugar.
4. Anaerobic respiration by yeast.
5. Alcohol (ethanol) is distilled out of mixture.
Ethanol
4
How is it made from Cellulosics?
1. Collection, storage transportation to
refinery.
2. Dirt debris removed from material and then
shredded into small particles.
3. Heat, pressure or acid treatment. Enzymes in
solution are used to breakdown cellulose,
hemicellulose to sugars. Lignin is removed.
4. Syrup of sugars is filtered from solids.
5. Anaerobic fermentation by bacteria to produce
alcohol (and carbon dioxide).
6. Further enzymatic breakdown of cellulose and
lignin.
7. Anaerobic fermentation by bacteria to produce
alcohol (and carbon dioxide).
This method used for plants such as Miscanthus
8. Alcohol is distilled.
9. More water removed.
10. Stored for distribution and use.
5
Biofuels are a BIG deal (500,000,000 over 10 yr)
  • BP funded Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) at
    UI UC Berkeley to help find alternative forms
    of fuel.
  • Research by EBI explores the possibilities of
    using monoculture feedstocks instead of corn seed
    to produce ethanol.

6
A little background
  • Before the plow, the Midwest was a grassland with
    large stores of soil organic matter.
  • Land conversion to row crop agriculture
    (corn-soybean rotation)
  • depleted soil stores of C N
  • caused soil erosion
  • polluted above/belowground water through nitrates
    derived from fertilizer.

7
Objectives of EBI Project
  • quantify the major pools and fluxes in C, N,
    water cycles in fields with four different types
    of feedstock crops
  • determine how and when interactions of soil
    microbial and insect populations affect these
    cycles
  • By studying the entire cycle, understand how
    feedstock crops affect major ecosystem
    services
  • sequester atmospheric carbon
  • retain soil nitrogen
  • minimize water contamination
  • reduce greenhouse gases.

8
Biofuel Feedstocks
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Corn
Miscanthus (M. giganteus)
restored prairie
9
Why use these feedstocks?
  • High rates of biomass accumulation with minimal
    nutrient inputs
  • Perennials
  • Extended growing season
  • Low demand for nutrients, fertilizer,
    pesticides
  • Could stop harmful environmental impacts of
    corn-soybean rotations

10
Benefits
  • Compared to fossil fuels, biofuels from corn
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • corn by 40
  • switchgrass by 115 (theoretical
    analysis).

11
Benefits
  • Net biomass yields of perennials is much greater
    than corn
  • Miscanthus 1400 g C/m2
  • switchgrass 550 g C/m2

Note 1 ton 46 bu
12
Benefits
  • Net energy yields are greater for perennials than
    annuals.

13
Drawbacks?
  • Feedstock crops likely to affect natural
    biodiversity of ecosystem.
  • Takes 3 years to reach economic maturity.
  • Planting of perennial rhizomes long and
    laborious.
  • Must perform studies with comparisons of
    feedstocks to determine costs and benefits (This
    study is the first).

14
Study Site UI South Farm
Corn, switchgrass, and Miscanthus (2nd year of
growth) (Above)
Switchgrass and Miscanthus (Left)
15
Experimental Design (Phase One)
  • Conducted at the UIUC Energy Farm.
  • Each crop replicated four times crops randomly
    placed in site three 0.7-ha plots and one 3.8-ha
    plot.
  • Meterological tower measures surface-atmosphere
    exchange of CO2, water vapor, energy, N2O,and
    methane.
  • Tile drains under each plot collects drainage
    water to measure leaching.
  • Nutrients in vegetation (using stable isotopes)
    measured.
  • Herbivore damage and changes in soil microbial
    communities measured.

16
Analysis
  • Accumulation of soil C measured as changes in C
    isotope composition.
  • Measure herbivores and microbial communities to
    determine how mineralization, nitrification,
    denitrification are regulated.
  • Expect ecosystem process differences to occur
    within first three years of establishment.
  • Data used to put into a model (DAYCENT) to
    extrapolate results regionally).

17
Phase Two
  • Examine how feedstock crops interact with climate
    to influence cycles of C, N, and water.
  • Conduct along longitudinal gradient from Ohio to
    California.
  • Gradient dominated by changes in precipitation.

18
Predictions (based on succession)
  • During establishment phase
  • C and N stocks will increase rapidly due to
    reduced losses to atmosphere and groundwater.
  • soil C will accumulate.

19
Predictions
  • Rapid changes in N cycle due to rapid conversion
    of leaky N system (annuals) to conserved N system
    (perennials)
  • Feedstocks require less fertilizer.
  • Rapid uptake of N due to root systems present
    throughout the year resulting in less leaching.
  • Nitrate loss due to drainage to decrease from 30
    to lt2 kg N/ha/yr.
  • Less loss of N via denitrification due to
    limited availability of nitrate because of
    plant uptake.

20
Predictions
  • Annuals vs. perennials will cause differences in
    the water cycle through altered rates of
    evapotranspiration--gt
  • differences in soil moisture and run-off
  • differences will drive changes in nutrient
    cycling and microbial activity.
  • Insect diversity will increase during
    establishment in prairie.
  • Impact of above-ground herbivory on C and N
    cycles will be greatest in monoculture feedstocks.

21
Why does it matter?
  • Provides methodology for other biofuel systems,
    e.g.
  • sugar beets poplar plantations in temperate
    regions
  • sugar cane in the tropics
  • Allows for understanding the impact of feedstocks
    on the ecosystem.
  • Greater yields of ethanol from perennial biomass
    may decrease the land use for biofuels and allow
    more land use for food production.

22
Want to learn more???
  • Check out http//miscanthus.uiuc.edu/

23
Acknowledgments
  • Thank you to Dr. Augspurger Mr. Mike Masters

DeLucia et. al. 2007. EBI 2007 Environmental
impact and sustainability of feedstock
production. Program Summary pg.1-16
Yates, Diana. 2008. Miscanthus can meet US
biofuels goal using less land. Inside Illinois
28 10-13.
http//www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/images/greenho
use_gas_by_fuel.jpg
http//www.cocorahs.org/media/images/us_precip.png
http//miscanthus.uiuc.edu/?page_id11
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