Bioenergy Crops – Alternative Markets – “From Field to Furnace”
Natural Resources Management Educator
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.
harvest and preprocessing.