Murray State University

Poster Title

Biomass: Green Energy for the Future of Agriculture

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

There is a growing trend towards the promotion of sustainability in the world of agriculture, particularly through alternative sources of energy than fossil fuels. Biomass, vegetative waste from energy crops such as switch grass and sorghum, is a key input for transforming the face of energy for the future of Kentucky, the nation, and the world. The purpose of this particular agricultural experiment at Murray State University using the Bio-Burner 100 unit from L.E.I products in Madisonville, KY, was to determine the most efficient biomass as input for output of energy in the form of heat, and as a preliminary trial for burns utilizing larger burning units. Loose and pelleted forms of switch grass, energy sorghum, Miscanthus, equine waste and wood shavings were burned over eight-hour periods in outdoor temperatures below 55°F. Factors including burn and ash weight, ash clinkers, fan and fuel speed, and chemical and BTU measurements taken by Twin Ports Testing were recorded to assist in determining the success of each burn trial and overall energy balance. Upon analysis of the data, the biomass with the most efficient burn proved to be the wood shavings. The least efficient burn proved to be the foragebased biomass, which included Miscanthus, switch grass and sorghum. Forages burn less efficiently due to their high sugar content, heavy ash production, and need for a high volume of dry matter. The application of this experiment with biomass as energy is vital for improving sustainability in equine and farm-level operations.

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Biomass: Green Energy for the Future of Agriculture

There is a growing trend towards the promotion of sustainability in the world of agriculture, particularly through alternative sources of energy than fossil fuels. Biomass, vegetative waste from energy crops such as switch grass and sorghum, is a key input for transforming the face of energy for the future of Kentucky, the nation, and the world. The purpose of this particular agricultural experiment at Murray State University using the Bio-Burner 100 unit from L.E.I products in Madisonville, KY, was to determine the most efficient biomass as input for output of energy in the form of heat, and as a preliminary trial for burns utilizing larger burning units. Loose and pelleted forms of switch grass, energy sorghum, Miscanthus, equine waste and wood shavings were burned over eight-hour periods in outdoor temperatures below 55°F. Factors including burn and ash weight, ash clinkers, fan and fuel speed, and chemical and BTU measurements taken by Twin Ports Testing were recorded to assist in determining the success of each burn trial and overall energy balance. Upon analysis of the data, the biomass with the most efficient burn proved to be the wood shavings. The least efficient burn proved to be the foragebased biomass, which included Miscanthus, switch grass and sorghum. Forages burn less efficiently due to their high sugar content, heavy ash production, and need for a high volume of dry matter. The application of this experiment with biomass as energy is vital for improving sustainability in equine and farm-level operations.