Crop Sciences logo University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo

Agronomy Day 2008

Home Welcome(Hoeft) Welcome(Dunker) Field Tour Presentations Tent Displays Credit & Thanks Sponsors
Tour D

Bioenergy Crops – Alternative Markets – “From Field to Furnace”

Gary Letterly
Gary Letterly U of I Extension
Natural Resources Management Educator
217-287-7246
letterly@illinois.edu
217-287-7247

Even beyond the rural economy, energy and agriculture are literally joined at the root, stalk, and leaves in a biomass sense. As part of a funded proposal to the Dudley Smith Initiative DSystems program, an effort to provide a practical demonstration of biomass heat and power is being developed in Christian County. The project - Biomass Heat and Power in Illinois: A Practical Demonstration and Foundation for the Future, is using existing technology in residential heating and identifying regional manufacturing partnerships to process perennial grasses (Miscanthus x giganteus and switchgrass – Panicum virgatum) into solid fuel pellets. The outreach portion of this project has lead to innovations in residential heating, involvement of traditional row crop farmers to cultivate perennial grasses as energy crops, and raised public awareness of “bridge” uses of biomass as the promise of cellulosic ethanol inches above the horizon.

Miscanthus grass pellets for furnace fuel.
Miscanthus grass pellets for furnace fuel.
Side-by-side miscanthus and switchgrass harvest and preprocessing.
Side-by-side miscanthus and switchgrass
harvest and preprocessing.
Miscanthus rhizome planting
Miscanthus rhizome planting
Winter stand of miscanthus and switchgrass
Winter stand of miscanthus and switchgrass
Energizing Agriculture