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Title: An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems

Abstract

Agricultural residues have been identified as a significant potential resource for bioenergy production, but serious questions remain about the sustainability of harvesting residues. Agricultural residues play an important role in limiting soil erosion from wind and water and in maintaining soil organic carbon. Because of this, multiple factors must be considered when assessing sustainable residue harvest limits. Validated and accepted modeling tools for assessing these impacts include the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation Version 2 (RUSLE2), the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS), and the Soil Conditioning Index. Currently, these models do not work together as a single integrated model. Rather, use of these models requires manual interaction and data transfer. As a result, it is currently not feasible to use these computational tools to perform detailed sustainable agricultural residue availability assessments across large spatial domains or to consider a broad range of land management practices. This paper presents an integrated modeling strategy that couples existing datasets with the RUSLE2 water erosion, WEPS wind erosion, and Soil Conditioning Index soil carbon modeling tools to create a single integrated residue removal modeling system. This enables the exploration of the detailed sustainable residue harvest scenarios needed to establish sustainable residue availability. Using thismore » computational tool, an assessment study of residue availability for the state of Iowa was performed. This study included all soil types in the state of Iowa, four representative crop rotation schemes, variable crop yields, three tillage management methods, and five residue removal methods. The key conclusions of this study are that under current management practices and crop yields nearly 26.5 million Mg of agricultural residue are sustainably accessible in the state of Iowa, and that through the adoption of no till practices residue removal could sustainably approach 40 million Mg. However, when considering the economics and logistics of residue harvest, yields below 2.25 Mg ha-1 are generally considered to not be viable for a commercial bioenergy system. Applying this constraint, the total agricultural residue resource available in Iowa under current management practices is 19 million Mg. Previously published results have shown residue availability from 22 million Mg to over 50 million Mg in Iowa.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - FE
OSTI Identifier:
1057204
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-11-22450
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Modelling and Software; Journal Volume: 39
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; assessment; bioenergy; biomass feedstocks

Citation Formats

D. Muth, and K. M. Bryden. An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems. United States: N. p., 2003. Web.
D. Muth, & K. M. Bryden. An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems. United States.
D. Muth, and K. M. Bryden. 2003. "An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_1057204,
title = {An Integrated Model for Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Residue Removal Limits for Bioenergy Systems},
author = {D. Muth and K. M. Bryden},
abstractNote = {Agricultural residues have been identified as a significant potential resource for bioenergy production, but serious questions remain about the sustainability of harvesting residues. Agricultural residues play an important role in limiting soil erosion from wind and water and in maintaining soil organic carbon. Because of this, multiple factors must be considered when assessing sustainable residue harvest limits. Validated and accepted modeling tools for assessing these impacts include the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation Version 2 (RUSLE2), the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS), and the Soil Conditioning Index. Currently, these models do not work together as a single integrated model. Rather, use of these models requires manual interaction and data transfer. As a result, it is currently not feasible to use these computational tools to perform detailed sustainable agricultural residue availability assessments across large spatial domains or to consider a broad range of land management practices. This paper presents an integrated modeling strategy that couples existing datasets with the RUSLE2 water erosion, WEPS wind erosion, and Soil Conditioning Index soil carbon modeling tools to create a single integrated residue removal modeling system. This enables the exploration of the detailed sustainable residue harvest scenarios needed to establish sustainable residue availability. Using this computational tool, an assessment study of residue availability for the state of Iowa was performed. This study included all soil types in the state of Iowa, four representative crop rotation schemes, variable crop yields, three tillage management methods, and five residue removal methods. The key conclusions of this study are that under current management practices and crop yields nearly 26.5 million Mg of agricultural residue are sustainably accessible in the state of Iowa, and that through the adoption of no till practices residue removal could sustainably approach 40 million Mg. However, when considering the economics and logistics of residue harvest, yields below 2.25 Mg ha-1 are generally considered to not be viable for a commercial bioenergy system. Applying this constraint, the total agricultural residue resource available in Iowa under current management practices is 19 million Mg. Previously published results have shown residue availability from 22 million Mg to over 50 million Mg in Iowa.},
doi = {},
journal = {Environmental Modelling and Software},
number = ,
volume = 39,
place = {United States},
year = 2003,
month =
}
  • Agricultural residues have significant potential as a feedstock for bioenergy production, but removing these residues can have negative impacts on soil health. Models and datasets that can support decisions about sustainable agricultural residue removal are available; however, no tools currently exist capable of simultaneously addressing all environmental factors that can limit availability of residue. The VE-Suite model integration framework has been used to couple a set of environmental process models to support agricultural residue removal decisions. The RUSLE2, WEPS, and Soil Conditioning Index models have been integrated. A disparate set of databases providing the soils, climate, and management practice datamore » required to run these models have also been integrated. The integrated system has been demonstrated for two example cases. First, an assessment using high spatial fidelity crop yield data has been run for a single farm. This analysis shows the significant variance in sustainably accessible residue across a single farm and crop year. A second example is an aggregate assessment of agricultural residues available in the state of Iowa. This implementation of the integrated systems model demonstrates the capability to run a vast range of scenarios required to represent a large geographic region.« less
  • This study provides a spatially comprehensive assessment of sustainable agricultural residue removal potential across the United States for bioenergy production. Earlier assessments determining the quantity of agricultural residue that could be sustainably removed for bioenergy production at the regional and national scale faced a number of computational limitations. These limitations included the number of environmental factors, the number of land management scenarios, and the spatial fidelity and spatial extent of the assessment. This study utilizes integrated multi-factor environmental process modeling and high fidelity land use datasets to perform the sustainable agricultural residue removal assessment. Soil type represents the base spatialmore » unit for this study and is modeled using a national soil survey database at the 10–100 m scale. Current crop rotation practices are identified by processing land cover data available from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer database. Land management and residue removal scenarios are identified for each unique crop rotation and crop management zone. Estimates of county averages and state totals of sustainably available agricultural residues are provided. The results of the assessment show that in 2011 over 150 million metric tons of agricultural residues could have been sustainably removed across the United States. Projecting crop yields and land management practices to 2030, the assessment determines that over 207 million metric tons of agricultural residues will be able to be sustainably removed for bioenergy production at that time. This biomass resource has the potential for producing over 68 billion liters of cellulosic biofuels.« less
  • This study provides a spatially comprehensive assessment of sustainable agricultural residue removal potential across the United States. Earlier assessments determining the quantity of agricultural residue that could be sustainably removed for bioenergy production at the regional and national scale faced a number of computational limitations. These limitations included the number of environmental factors, the number of land management scenarios, and the spatial fidelity and spatial extent of the assessment. This study utilizes integrated multi-factor environmental process modeling and high fidelity land use datasets to perform a spatially comprehensive assessment of sustainably removable agricultural residues across the conterminous United States. Soilmore » type represents the base spatial unit for this study and is modeled using a national soil survey database at the 10 – 100 m scale. Current crop rotation practices are identified by processing land cover data available from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer database. Land management and residue removal scenarios are identified for each unique crop rotation and crop management zone. Estimates of county averages and state totals of sustainably available agricultural residues are provided. The results of the assessment show that in 2011 over 150 million metric tons of agricultural residues could have been sustainably removed across the United States. Projecting crop yields and land management practices to 2030, the assessment determines that over 207 million metric tons of agricultural residues will be able to be sustainably removed for bioenergy production at that time.« less
  • This study developed a computational strategy that utilizes data inputs from multiple spatial scales to investigate how variability within individual fields can impact sustainable residue removal for bioenergy production. Sustainable use of agricultural residues for bioenergy production requires consideration of the important role that residues play in limiting soil erosion and maintaining soil C, health, and productivity. Increased availability of subfield-scale data sets such as grain yield data, high-fidelity digital elevation models, and soil characteristic data provides an opportunity to investigate the impacts of subfield-scale variability on sustainable agricultural residue removal. Using three representative fields in Iowa, this study contrastedmore » the results of current NRCS conservation management planning analysis with subfield-scale analysis for rake-and-bale removal of agricultural residue. The results of the comparison show that the field-average assumptions used in NRCS conservation management planning may lead to unsustainable residue removal decisions for significant portions of some fields. This highlights the need for additional research on subfield-scale sustainable agricultural residue removal including the development of real-time variable removal technologies for agricultural residue.« less