See more from this Session: Bioenergy Systems Community: II
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
Almost a third of the total energy demand in Vermont is for heating purposes and nearly sixty percent of the heating fuel used in the state is number two heating oil. Perennial forage grasses have the potential to be utilized as a biomass fuel for heating which could displace heating oil, a petroleum product subject to fluctuating prices. Many fields that are marginal in production and no longer utilized for forage production consist of perennial grasses, particularly reed canarygrass (<i>Phalaris</i> <i>arundinacea</i> L.). As part of a Vermont Grass Energy Initiative to explore the potential of perennial grasses for biomass energy, replicated small plot field trials were conducted from 2009 to 2011 in order to evaluate the production and fuel quality of reed canarygrass as affected by nitrogen fertility and time of harvest. Treatments included 0, 60 and 112 kg N per ha applied in May when grasses were 8 to 10 cm. Harvests, using quadrat samplers, were collected from plots two to three times from mid July to early September. Ash content ranged from 390 to 790 g per kg depending on treatments and location, but generally was either not affected or was reduced by increased N fertilization. Regression analysis showed that an optimum N rate was approximately 85 kg per ha when harvest was made in late August with optimum yields at 10 mt per ha. Potassium, sulfur and chloride content response to N fertilization varied by location.