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dan45mcc

Coskata-or low-cost material such as fast-growing energy crops, trash, tires .

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It is nice to see plant developers looking closely at closed loop and energy recovery systems.

Co-location with other plants that need your waste energy or can provide waste energy (like the nuclear  waste heat thread a while back) is the key to making bio fuels like ethanol cost effective and able to go toe to toe with fossil origin gasoline in the market.

 

I just wish I had a million dollars to invest!

 

Larry

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Some states have been planting high biomass grasses along their highways where they regularly mow.  Now none of those states, like Utah for example, have any ethanol plants but its a step in the right direction.

 

 

It is nice to see plant developers looking closely at closed loop and energy recovery systems.

Co-location with other plants that need your waste energy or can provide waste energy (like the nuclear  waste heat thread a while back) is the key to making bio fuels like ethanol cost effective and able to go toe to toe with fossil origin gasoline in the market.

 

I just wish I had a million dollars to invest!

 

Larry

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The interstate highway system consists of 46,572 miles of highway right of way. If we assume 50% of that has vegetated medians and shoulders, that is 23,280 miles of median and shoulder. If we assume where medians and shoulders exist there is 60' of width that is mowed per mile, that works out to 169,309 acres of mowed vegetation.

 

In the south you will get perhaps 3 mowing's a year, and in the north lets call it 1.5 per year or the 4.5 x 169,309 acres of grass.

 

That is a bunch of grass clippings. Now throw in a few municipal golf courses, school foot ball and soccer fields, a few city parks and an occasional cemetery and we are talking about a huge amount of finely chopped vegetation available for the hauling.

 

After you finish with that you have Christmas trees, storm damaged trees (wind, snow and ice storms).

 

Larry

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Interesting - one thing I've always been curious about with the cellulosic ethanol... there is some nutrient and soil conditioning value to the crop residue.  ie - decomposing plant material adds organic matter to the soil which improves it's 'structure' and reincorporates some of the nutrients the plant stored back into the soil.

 

If these guys intend to go out and scour away every grass clipping, leaf, and plant stalk, what will the resultant impact be to the soil?  Maybe they plan to take 90% and leave 10% and that will be enough?  or I suppose it would be pretty easy to make up the nutrient loss with chemical ferts.  But it definitely seems like there is some balance there.

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Interesting - one thing I've always been curious about with the cellulosic ethanol... there is some nutrient and soil conditioning value to the crop residue.  ie - decomposing plant material adds organic matter to the soil which improves it's 'structure' and reincorporates some of the nutrients the plant stored back into the soil.

 

If these guys intend to go out and scour away every grass clipping, leaf, and plant stalk, what will the resultant impact be to the soil?  Maybe they plan to take 90% and leave 10% and that will be enough?  or I suppose it would be pretty easy to make up the nutrient loss with chemical ferts.  But it definitely seems like there is some balance there.

 

with the price of commercial fertilizer, it wouldn't take long before farmers realized they would have to throttle their harvesting of the biomass.

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Plants put bio mass in the soil two ways. Most of it is in the form of root growth and the remainder is above ground development. If you took away all the above ground plant material on an annual crop like corn that leaves a decaying root complex in the soil you would only be removing about 30% -40% of the plant structure remaining after harvest.

 

As mentioned above the agriculture extension service and ag colleges would be all over that problem figuring out the ideal balance of harvest vs pay back to the soil. Look at hay crops from Alfalfa depending on where you are they get mowed 2 - 6 times a season, and all that plant material gets carted away but the plant has a very deep root system that along with symbiotic microorganisms  fixes nitrogen in the soil and actually improves the soil over time. There is probably a balanced crop rotation system that would work very well in long term usage like 2 years corn, 1 year sorgum etc. I am sure there are research projects on this issue being run by the seed companies right now.

 

Larry

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hotrod wrote

Look at hay crops from Alfalfa depending on where you are they get mowed 2 - 6 times a season, and all that plant material gets carted away

To maintain a good alfalfa stand it takes more than fixed nitrogen. You have to fertilize with phosphate, potash, lime, and other micro-nutrients.

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