Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 3:00 PM
Convention Center, Room 308, Third Floor
Influenced by recent events in fossil fuel prices, both economic and environmental, as well as increased concerns about climate change and energy independence, there is a growing interest in the development of renewable energy biomass feedstocks. These feedstocks include perennial grasses, timber, and annual grain crops with focus being placed on corn (Zea mays L.) and its stover residue. A field study involving corn grown on Goldsboro and Lynchburg soil series was conducted to measure the distribution of gross energy, as measured by an isoperibol calorimeter, in corn stover—whole plant, bottoms, tops, and cob (n = 20). Cob was found to be the most energy dense with an average value of 19.26 MJ/kg-db. The top of the corn plant, considered to be the biomass above the ear of corn, was more energy dense than the bottom biomass—18.92 vs. 18.04 MJ/kg-db. The gross energy content of the whole plant, including cob, was determined to be 18.55 MJ/kg-db. Partial to total removal (i.e., 25 to 100%) of the whole plant would supply between 57.9 and 191.7 GJ/ha. At 191.7 GJ/ha, corn stover biomass yield in a 130 km2 area could potentially support a 3.7 MW power plant.