See more from this Session: Symposium--Biomass Energy Systems: Production Systems and Conversion Technology
Monday, November 1, 2010: 9:15 AM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 104C, First Floor
U.S. agriculture is now depended on to produce renewable energy in addition to food, feed, and fuel, which if not properly managed could threaten long-term sustainability of our agricultural lands. Biofuels produced from oilseed crops, primarily biodiesel, will be an important addition to the renewable energy portfolio. Soybean, despite its rather low seed oil content (~18-20% wt/wt), is currently the primary oil source for biodiesel in the U.S. by virtue of the amount produced. Other conventional oilseeds such as rapeseed, sunflower, and flax are of lesser importance, although rapeseed is a primary biodiesel feedstock in Europe. Most conventional oilseed crops, especially soybean, have been developed primarily for food uses and generally require extensive agricultural inputs (e.g., pesticides and tillage etc.) to maintain high yields. Successful biofuel production will likely depend on feedstock that does not require large agricultural inputs to produce, that does not directly compete with food production, and that offers environmental benefits (e.g., few greenhouse gas emissions). There are some new oilseeds crops on the horizon being developed specifically for biofuels and other industrial products that require lower inputs and whose oil may be better suited for advanced fuel production than food-use oils. Furthermore, strategies to integrate these new crops into systems without sacrificing food security may boost biofuel production, while diversify cropping systems and potentially adding new economic and environmental benefits. This presentation will review some agronomic issues, both pros and cons, of present and future oilseed cropping systems for biofuel production.