Advertisement

BioEnergy Research

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 587–600 | Cite as

Potential for Production of Perennial Biofuel Feedstocks in Conservation Buffers on the Coastal Plain of Georgia, USA

  • Alisa W. CoffinEmail author
  • Timothy C. Strickland
  • William F. Anderson
  • Marshall C. Lamb
  • Richard R. Lowrance
  • Coby M. Smith
Article

Abstract

With global increases in the production of cellulosic biomass for fuel, or “biofuel,” concerns over potential negative effects of using land for biofuel production have promoted attention to concepts of agricultural landscape design that sustainably balance tradeoffs between food, fuel, fiber, and conservation. The Energy Independence Security Act (EISA) of 2007 mandates an increase in advanced biofuels to 21 billion gallons in 2022. The southeastern region of the USA has been identified as a contributor to meeting half of this goal. We used a GIS-based approach to estimate the production and N-removal potential of three perennial biofeedstocks planted as conservation buffers (field borders associated with riparian buffers, and grassed waterways) on the Coastal Plain of Georgia, USA. Land cover, hydrology, elevation, and soils data were used to identify locations within agricultural landscapes that are most susceptible to runoff, erosion, and nutrient loss. We estimated potential annual biomass production from these areas to be: 2.5–3.5 Tg for giant miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus), 2–8.6 Tg for “Merkeron” napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), and 1.9–7.5 Tg for “Alamo” switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). When production strategies were taken into consideration, we estimated total biomass yield of perennial grasses for the Georgia Coastal Plain at 2.2–9.4 Tg year−1. Using published rates of N removal and ethanol conversion, we calculated the amount of potential N removal by these systems as 8100–51,000 Mg year−1 and ethanol fuel production as 778–3296 Ml year−1 (206 to 871 million gal. US).

Keywords

Biofuel Bioenergy feedstocks Landscape analysis Miscanthus × giganteus Pennisetum purpureum Panicum virgatum Georgia Coastal Plain 

Abbreviations

AOI

Area of interest

CW

Conservation waterway

EISA

Energy independence and security act of 2007

CRP

Conservation reserve program

GHG

Greenhouse gas

GIS

Geographic information system

gSSURGO

Gridded soil survey geographic data

K

Potassium

N

Nitrogen

NAIP

National agriculture imagery program

NCDL

National cropland data layer

NED

National elevation dataset

NLCD

National land cover database

NRCS

Natural resources conservation service

mamsl

Meters above mean sea level

MLRA

Major land resource area

P

Phosphorous

RB

Riparian buffer

US-EPA

US Environmental Protection Agency

USA

United States of America

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

USGS

United States Geologic Survey

Notes

Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge Lewis Taylor Farms, Inc., of Tifton, GA, a USDA-ARS cooperator producer, for providing areas for experimental field work. New Energy Farms of Tifton, GA, provided plant material for analysis. We are also very grateful for the efforts of numerous technicians who contributed to the collection and processing of field data, including Lorine Lewis, Thoris Green, Rex Blanchett, DeeAnn Webb, Bobby Shiver, John Davis, Freddie Cheek, Tony Howell, Jesse Childre, Bobby-Ray Hagler, Andrew Stinson, Mason Dean, Lee Kirby, Alex Seigler, Matthew Brinckmann, Turner Hughes, Erin Boettger, and Tanner Connell. Finally, we appreciate the efforts of two anonymous reviewers who commented on this manuscript. This research is a contribution of the USDA-ARS Gulf Atlantic Coastal Plain Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Site.

Supplementary material

12155_2015_9700_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (25 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 24 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Parton WJ, Pouyat RV (2010) Ecological dimensions of biofuels: conference and workshop report. Bull Ecol Soc Am. doi: 10.1890/0012-9623-91.2.264 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Searchinger T, Heimlich R (2015) Avoiding bioenergy competition for food crops and land. Working paper, installment 9 of creating a sustainable food future. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fletcher RJ, Robertson BA, Evans J et al (2010) Biodiversity conservation in the era of biofuels: risks and opportunities. Front Ecol Environ. doi: 10.1890/090091 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011) Biofuels and the environment: the first triennial report to congress. office of research and development. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    U.S. Department of Energy (2011) U.S. Billion-Ton update: biomass supply for a bioenergy and bioproducts industry. In: Perlack RD, Stokes BJ (eds) ORNL/TM-2011/224. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TNGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (2007) Pub. L. 110–140. 121 Stat. 1491–1801. GPO, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, University of Missouri (2015) U.S. Baseline briefing book: projections for agricultural and biofuels markets, FAPRI‐MU Report #01‐15. University of Missouri, Columbia, MOGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture (2010) A USDA regional roadmap to meeting the biofuels goals of the renewable fuels standard by 2022. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lowrance R, Anderson WF, Miguez F et al (2011) Landscape management and sustainable feedstock production: enhancing net regional primary productivity while minimizing externalities. In: Braun R, Karlen DL, Johnson D (eds) Sustainable feedstocks for advanced biofuels: sustainable alternative fuel feedstock opportunities, challenges and roadmaps for six U.S. Regions. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny, IA, pp 1–19Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bouton JH (2002) Bioenergy crop breeding and production research in the Southeast: final report for 1996 to 2001. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TNGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Behrman KD, Keitt TH, Kiniry JR (2014) Modeling differential growth in switchgrass cultivars across the Central and Southern Great Plains. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9450-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Song Y, Jain AK, Landuyt W et al (2015) Estimates of biomass yield for perennial bioenergy grasses in the USA. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9546-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Na C-I, Sollenberger L, Erickson J (2015) Management of perennial warm-season bioenergy grasses I: biomass harvested, nutrient removal, and persistence responses of elephantgrass and energycane to harvest frequency and timing. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9541-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sanderson M, Adler P (2008) Perennial forages as second generation bioenergy crops. Int J Mol Sci 9(5):768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mitchell R, Vogel KP, Sarath G (2008) Managing and enhancing switchgrass as a bioenergy feedstock. Biofuels Bioprod Biorefin 2(6):530–539. doi: 10.1002/bbb.106 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Heaton EA, Dohleman FG, Long SP (2008) Meeting US biofuel goals with less land: the potential of Miscanthus. Glob Chang Biol. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01662.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fedenko JR, Erickson JE, Woodard KR et al (2013) Biomass production and composition of perennial grasses grown for bioenergy in a subtropical climate across Florida. USA BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-013-9342-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Knoll J, Anderson W, Strickland T et al (2012) Low-input production of biomass from perennial grasses in the Coastal Plain of Georgia. USA BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-011-9122-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Prine G, Stricker J, McConnell W (1997) Opportunities for bioenergy development in lower south USA. Proc 3rd Biomass Conference of the America. Making Business Biomass Energy, Environ, Chem, Fibers Mater 1:227–235Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Prine GM, Mislevy P, Stanley RL Jr (1991) In: Klass DL (ed) Energy from biomass and wastes XV, vol 24. Institute of Gas Technology, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Quinn LD, Gordon DR, Glaser A et al (2015) Bioenergy feedstocks at low risk for invasion in the USA: a “White List” approach. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9503-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sollenberger LE, Woodard KR, Vendramini JM et al (2014) Invasive populations of elephant grass differ in morphological and growth characteristics from clones selected for biomass production. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9478-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dale VH, Kline KL, Wiens J, Fargione J (2010) Biofuels: implications for land use and biodiversity. biofuels and sustainability reports. Ecological Society of America, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mitchell R, Wallace L, Wilhelm W et al (2010) Grasslands, rangelands, and agricultural systems, biofuels and sustainability reports. Ecological Society of America, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Quinn L, Straker K, Guo J et al (2015) Stress-tolerant feedstocks for sustainable bioenergy production on marginal land. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9557-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Knoll J, Anderson W, Malik R et al (2013) Production of napiergrass as a bioenergy feedstock under organic versus inorganic fertilization in the Southeast USA. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-013-9328-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Werling BP, Dickson TL, Isaacs R et al (2014) Perennial grasslands enhance biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services in bioenergy landscapes. Proc Nat Acad Sci. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309492111 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wiens J, Fargione J, Hill J (2011) Biofuels and biodiversity. Ecol Appl. doi: 10.1890/09-0673.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Williams JD, Robertson DS, Wuest SB (2015) Biofuel feedstock production potential in stream buffers of the inland Pacific Northwest: productivity and management issues with invasive plants. J Soil Water Conserv. doi: 10.2489/jswc.70.3.156 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Stoof CR, Richards BK, Woodbury PB et al (2015) Untapped potential: opportunities and challenges for sustainable bioenergy production from marginal lands in the Northeast USA. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394278-4.00001-5 Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jose S, Bardhan S (2012) Agroforestry for biomass production and carbon sequestration: an overview. Agrof Syst. doi: 10.1007/s10457-012-9573-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Conservation Reserve Program Statistics. CRP Enrollment and rental payments by State, 1986–2014: CRP Cumulative Enrollment by Fiscal Year (Acres) (2015) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/reports-and-statistics/conservation-reserve-program-statistics/index. Accessed 20 Aug 2015
  33. 33.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (2010) Grassed waterway, code 412. GPO, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hubbard RK, Lowrance RR (1994) Riparian forest buffer system research at the coastal plain experiment station, Tifton, GA. Water Air Soil Pollut 77:409–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Omernik J, Griffith G (2014) Ecoregions of the conterminous United States: evolution of a hierarchical spatial framework. Environ Manag. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0364-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Griffith GE, Omernik JM, Comstock JA et al (2001) Ecoregions of Georgia. Corvallis, ORGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (2006) Land resource regions and major land resource areas of the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Basin. U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook 296, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistis Service, Research and Development Division, Geospatial Information Branch, Spatial Analysis Research Section (2014) USDA, national agricultural statistics service, 2014 Georgia cropland data layer. USDA, NASS, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Sohl TL (In Press) Southeastern Plains. In: Sayler K, Acevedo W, Taylor JL (eds) Status and trends of land change in the Eastern United States. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VAGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Soil Survey Staff (2015) The Gridded Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database for Georgia. Available online at http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/. May 21, 2015 (FY2015 official release)
  41. 41.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Cartography & Geospatial Center (2015) National Elevation Dataset 10 meter 7.5x7.5 minute quadrangles. http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov, Fort Worth, TX
  42. 42.
    US. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1999) National Hydrography Dataset. Reston, VAGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division (2014) TIGER/Line Shapefile, 2014, State, Georgia, Primary and Secondary Roads State-based ShapefileGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division (2014) TIGER/Line Shapefile, 2014, 2010 nation, U.S., 2010 Census Urban Area NationalGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Brantley L (2012) Utilities_Lines. University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Information Technology Outreach Services, Athens, GAGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Georgia Department of Natural Resources, WRD Nongame Conservation (2015) Conservation lands 2015. DNR Nongame Conservation Section, Social CircleGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Web Soil Survey (2015) http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov. Accessed 04/30/2015
  48. 48.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Aerial Photography Field Office (2013) NAIP 2013 imagery. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Aerial Photography Field Office, Salt Lake City, UTGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Cassida KA, Muir JP, Hussey MA (2005) Biomass yield and stand characteristics of switchgrass in South Central U.S. environments. Crop Sci. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2005.0673 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Bransby D, Huang P (2014) Twenty-year biomass yields of eight switchgrass cultivars in Alabama. BioEnergy Res. doi: 10.1007/s12155-014-9448-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Inamdar SP, Lowrance RR, Altier LS et al (1999) Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) II: testing of the water quality and nutrient cycling component for a Coastal Plain riparian system. Trans ASAE 42(6):1691–1707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Bosch DD, Potter TL, Strickland TC, Hubbard RK (Accepted) Dissolved nitrogen, chloride, and potassium loss from fields in conventional and conservation tillage. Trans ASABEGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Dutta A, Talmadge M, Hensley J (2011) Process design and economics for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol: thermochemical pathway by indirect gasification and mixed alcohol synthesis. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, COGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which permits any non-commercial use, sharing, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, and provide a link to the Creative Commons license. You do not have permission under this license to share adapted material derived from this article or parts of it.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this license, visit (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA-ARS, Southeast Watershed Research LaboratoryTiftonUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS, Crop Genetics and Breeding ResearchTiftonUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARS, National Peanut Research LaboratoryDawsonUSA
  4. 4.US-EPA, National Risk Management Research LaboratoryAdaUSA

Personalised recommendations