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Thứ Tư, 7 tháng 1, 2009

MSU research reduces carbon loss in waste-to-fuel process

Written by Giles Clark, London
Biofuel Review - international biofuel news updated daily, 05 January 2009

Practices such as planting cover crops and adding manure and compost can reduce carbon loss in fields where corn stover is removed for ethanol production according to research from Michigan State University. The research programme, carried out by Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station crop and soil scientists Kurt Thelen and Doo-Hong Min and graduate student Bradley Fronning measured soil carbon changes as well as greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from several test fields. They also considered the cost of carbon crops and fuel use, as well as the methane and nitrous oxides generated by manure.

"These results demonstrate that bio-energy cropping systems, particularly those integrating livestock manure into their management scheme, are a win-win option on both alternative energy and environmental fronts," Thelen said. "Under proper management, livestock manure can replace carbon lost from corn stover removal and actually provide an environmental benefit, both in terms of greenhouse gas mitigation and the improved soil properties associated with increasing (soil carbon) levels, such as increased water retention."

Research continues at MSU to evaluate the environmental, agronomic and economic sustainability of bio-energy cropping systems.

"It will be important to build on this research by comparing tillage systems — no-till versus conventional tillage — and looking at integrated cropping systems such as corn-alfalfa rotations, which in addition to their carbon storage and bio-energy value, are very important crops as feed sources for the dairy industry," Min said.

Research funding was provided by the MAES, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, and the Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases program. The team’s study was recently published in the Agronomy Journal and is available online at http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/6/1703.

Study looks at the implementation of EU bioenergy laws

Written by Giles Clark, London

A study analysing the implementation of EU directives and policies relating to bioenergy in Europe has been published today (20th November) by researchers from the Bioenergy Network of Excellence, a group of eight leading European bioenergy institutes. The study has been carried out in order to identify major RD&D needs in the field.

Major EU directives, commonly known as the Promotion of Renewable Electricity, Biofuels and Landfill Directives, along with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and parts of the Common Agricultural Policy, are some of the most important drivers behind the growth of bioenergy in the EU27 today, explained Leena Ukskoski from the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), part of the Bioenergy NoE. The report compares how Germany, Finland and the Netherlands have implemented the directives, examining the policy frameworks in each country and the plans and mechanisms in place to reach national targets. A wider European perspective for each directive is then drawn out, and recommendations for RD&D actions to meet the EU directive targets or obligations in each area are outlined. The report also takes a broader look at the effects the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Common Agricultural Policy are having on the use of biomass in the EU with RD&D recommendations for each area.

Bioenergy NoE advocates stronger communication and co-operation among various EU-wide projects and initiatives focusing on bioenergy development. Industry commitment to RD&D projects is, however, the only direct path for bringing state-of-the-art technology and products to market. Building sustainable production pathways and addressing competition with food products is crucial to developing environmentally-sound biofuels.

Research in renewable electricity from biomass should prioritize development of higher efficiency power production and power-to-heat ratios in combined heat and power plants over new technology development, it says. In the biofuels field, RD&D should prioritize the development of more sustainable, second generation biofuels. To meet landfill diversion targets, thermal conversion and energy recovery of municipal solid waste in some EU countries will have to increase. Meeting the European targets set for 2020 requires significant technology development in order to introduce a new generation of biofuels and feedstocks: this is the focus for Bioenergy NoE RD&D.

Link to the publication: http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/tiedotteet/2008/T2441.pdf

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