Research suggests that sorghum can be beneficial as both a fuel source and as a sinkhole for greenhouse gas. (iStock image)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Liquid fuel, charcoal, and electric power are all possible byproducts of biomass feedstocks. But what if there was a feedstock that not only produced bioenergy, but acted as a greenhouse gas “sink” as well? According to Texas A&M’s AgriLife Research, there is: bioenergy sorghum.
Each region contains locally generated biomass feedstocks, ranging from grains to animal byproducts. Sorghum is a group of grasses with about 30 species, which can be used in a variety of bioenergy production processes, like starch-to-ethanol, sugar-to-ethanol, and plants-to-bioenergy. Read more »
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, including research into trees that could fuel new energy solutions.
A team of researchers led by the University of California–Davis has mapped the complete genome of the loblolly pine. And if you don’t think that understanding the genetic makeup of loblolly pine is a big deal, perhaps you cannot see the forest for the trees.
Loblolly pine, the most commercially important tree in the United States, is the source of most paper products in this country and 58 percent of timber. On the surface, that might be reason enough for the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to invest $14.6 million in 2011 toward science that could increase the productivity and health of American forests. Read more »
This week, folks across the nation have come together with family and friends to celebrate America’s independence – and millions are enjoying the great outdoors.
That’s why this is an appropriate time to remember that we must protect America’s natural treasures for generations to come. A changing climate poses new threats to this goal – from an increased risk of severe wildfire, to more intense storms, to worse problems from invasive pests. Read more »
Converting airport grasslands to biofuel, solar or wind production may not only provide more environmentally sound alternative energy sources, but also increase revenue for airports and reduce the local abundance of wildlife hazardous to aircraft. U. S. Department of Agriculture research is helping shed light on this promising concept. USDA photo by David Bergman.
Most people are familiar with the weekly summer ritual of mowing the lawn. At best, the smell of fresh cut grass is appealing, but often the task is considered time consuming, tiring and expensive. What if your “lawn” was actually hundreds of acres in size, and how often you mowed it, what type of grass you had, and if you used pesticides greatly impacted the safety of nearby residents? “Mowing the lawn” is just one of the tasks airport managers and biologists confront as they work to keep wildlife away from runways and aircraft. Read more »
Biofuels – fuel from plant materials – may hold only vague meaning for many Americans. But they are an opportunity our nation cannot afford to pass up.
When mixed with the gas that powers our cars and trucks, biofuels saved drivers almost 90 cents per gallon at the pump last year. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Efforts to Expand Aviation Biofuels at the Paris Air Show
On Wednesday in Paris, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earned the distinction as the first U.S. Agriculture Secretary to attend a Paris Air Show, the largest gathering of the world aerospace industry. The Secretary spoke at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase to a crowd of about 75 aviation business leaders about how USDA is among the forefront of U.S. federal efforts to support the development of bio-based fuels. USDA has established memoranda of understanding with several government and aviation-related agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Air Transport Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Navy, on efforts to research and develop renewable energy and the infrastructure to support it. Read more »