See more from this Session: Resource Management and Monitoring: Impact On Soils, Air and Water Quality and General Environmental Quality (Graduate Student Poster Competition)
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
Biomass-derived forms of sustainable energy generation, market volatility of base fossil fuel stocks, and increased scrutiny over food supply inputs continue to create an environment of reserved openness to the possibility of gasification of agricultural derived materials as a method of heat and electricity production in the agricultural belt of the Midwestern United States. The by-product of the gasification process, biochar, has been evaluated globally on a historical and contemporary scale and has indicated potential as a beneficial soil amendment when matched to the proper agricultural environment. Biomass-derived energy systems have also proved controversial in their creation of a potential partition of land use between energy and food production. The goal of this study is to evaluate four different biomass feedstocks of regional agricultural origin and produced in a small, batch-style updraft gasifier. Wood chips derived from municipal tree and brush management, turkey litter from poultry houses, chopped stover from a sorghum variety bred for biomass applications, and chopped uncultivated tallgrass prairie hay were selected for the role of feedstocks and were gasified using a range of operational parameters. The resulting chars will then be characterized using Ultimate and Proximate Analysis, Ash Digestion and Mass Spectroscopy/Inductively Coupled Plasma, Extractable Phosphorus, Liming Potential using a Modified Incubation/Titration Technique, pH, Cation Exchange Capacity by Displacement, BET Surface Area, and CHNS Analysis via CHNS Analyzer. Based on the results of these analyses, the potential fate and function of each biochar, generated under a unique set of gasification parameters, will be estimated for application to agricultural fields and soil environments with respect to general qualities such as soil types, cropping systems, and climate.