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Title: Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production

Abstract

Replacing row crops with perennial bioenergy crops may reduce nitrogen (N) loading to surface waters. We estimated the benefits, costs, and potential for replacing maize with switchgrass to meet required N loading reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay (CB) of 26.9 Gg -1. After subtracting the potential reduction in N loading due to improved N fertilizer practices for maize, a further 22.8 Gg reduction is required. Replacing maize with fertilized switchgrass could reduce N loading to the CB by 18 kg ha -1 y -1, meeting 31% of the N reduction target. The break-even price of fertilized switchgrass to provide the same profit as maize in the CB is 111 $Mg -1 (oven-dry basis throughout). Growers replacing maize with switchgrass could receive an ecosystem service payment of 148 ha -1 based on the price paid in Maryland for planting a rye cover crop. For our estimated average switchgrass yield of 9.9 Mg ha -1, and the greater N loading reduction of switchgrass compared to a cover crop, this equates to 24 dollars Mg -1. The annual cost of this ecosystem service payment to induce switchgrass planting is 13.29 dollars kg -1 of N. Using the POLYSYS model to account formore » competition among food, feed, and biomass markets, we found that with the ecosystem service payment for switchgrass of 25 $ Mg -1 added to a farm-gate price of 111 dollars Mg -1, 11% of the N loading reduction target could be met while also producing 1.3 Tg of switchgrass, potentially yielding 420 dam 3 y -1 of ethanol.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)
  2. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1349608
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; 2012-68005-19703; RD835568
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biomass and Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biomass and Bioenergy; Journal ID: ISSN 0961-9534
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Biofuel; Switchgrass; Watershed; Nitrogen; Maize; Water quality

Citation Formats

Woodbury, Peter B., Kemanian, Armen R., Jacobson, Michael, and Langholtz, Matthew. Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.01.024.
Woodbury, Peter B., Kemanian, Armen R., Jacobson, Michael, & Langholtz, Matthew. Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production. United States. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.01.024.
Woodbury, Peter B., Kemanian, Armen R., Jacobson, Michael, and Langholtz, Matthew. Fri . "Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production". United States. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.01.024. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1349608.
@article{osti_1349608,
title = {Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production},
author = {Woodbury, Peter B. and Kemanian, Armen R. and Jacobson, Michael and Langholtz, Matthew},
abstractNote = {Replacing row crops with perennial bioenergy crops may reduce nitrogen (N) loading to surface waters. We estimated the benefits, costs, and potential for replacing maize with switchgrass to meet required N loading reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay (CB) of 26.9 Gg-1. After subtracting the potential reduction in N loading due to improved N fertilizer practices for maize, a further 22.8 Gg reduction is required. Replacing maize with fertilized switchgrass could reduce N loading to the CB by 18 kg ha-1 y-1, meeting 31% of the N reduction target. The break-even price of fertilized switchgrass to provide the same profit as maize in the CB is 111 $Mg-1 (oven-dry basis throughout). Growers replacing maize with switchgrass could receive an ecosystem service payment of 148 ha-1 based on the price paid in Maryland for planting a rye cover crop. For our estimated average switchgrass yield of 9.9 Mg ha-1, and the greater N loading reduction of switchgrass compared to a cover crop, this equates to 24 dollars Mg-1. The annual cost of this ecosystem service payment to induce switchgrass planting is 13.29 dollars kg-1 of N. Using the POLYSYS model to account for competition among food, feed, and biomass markets, we found that with the ecosystem service payment for switchgrass of 25 $ Mg-1 added to a farm-gate price of 111 dollars Mg-1, 11% of the N loading reduction target could be met while also producing 1.3 Tg of switchgrass, potentially yielding 420 dam3 y-1 of ethanol.},
doi = {10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.01.024},
journal = {Biomass and Bioenergy},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Feb 03 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Feb 03 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
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  • The world is faced with a difficult multiple challenge of meeting nutritional, energy, and other basic needs, under a limited land and water budget, of between 9 and 10 billion people in the next three decades, mitigating impacts of climate change, and making agricultural production resilient. More productivity is expected from agricultural lands, but intensification of production could further impact the integrity of our finite surface water and groundwater resources. Integrating perennial bioenergy crops in agricultural lands could provide biomass for biofuel and potential improvements on the sustainability of commodity crop production. This article provides an overview of ways inmore » which research has shown that perennial bioenergy grasses and short rotation woody crops can be incorporated into agricultural production systems with reduced indirect land use change, while increasing water quality benefits. Current challenges and opportunities as well as future directions are also highlighted.« less
  • The perennial grass species that are being developed as biomass feedstock crops harbor extensive genotypic diversity, but the effects of this diversity on biomass production are not well understood. We investigated the effects of genotypic diversity in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) on perennial biomass cropping systems in two experiments conducted over 2008–2014 at a 5.4-ha fertile field site in northeastern Illinois, USA. We varied levels of switchgrass and big bluestem genotypic diversity using various local and nonlocal cultivars – under low or high species diversity, with or without nitrogen inputs – and quantified establishment, biomass yield,more » and biomass composition. In one experiment (‘agronomic trial’), we compared three switchgrass cultivars in monoculture to a switchgrass cultivar mixture and three different species mixtures, with or without N fertilization. In another experiment (‘diversity gradient’), we varied diversity levels in switchgrass and big bluestem (1, 2, 4, or 6 cultivars per plot), with one or two species per plot. In both experiments, cultivar mixtures produced yields equivalent to or greater than the best cultivars. In the agronomic trial, the three switchgrass mixture showed the highest production overall, though not significantly different than best cultivar monoculture. In the diversity gradient, genotypic mixtures had one-third higher biomass production than the average monoculture, and none of the monocultures were significantly higher yielding than the average mixture. Year-to-year variation in yields was lowest in the three-cultivar switchgrass mixtures and Cave-In-Rock (the southern Illinois cultivar) and also reduced in the mixture of switchgrass and big bluestem relative to the species monocultures. The effects of genotypic diversity on biomass composition were modest relative to the differences among species and genotypes. Our findings suggest that local genotypes can be included in biomass cropping systems without compromising yields and that genotypic mixtures could help provide high, stable yields of high-quality biomass feedstocks.« less