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Evaluation of the Energy and Cost Advantages of Modules for Packaging and Transporting Biomass Energy Crops

2007 DOT-RITA Integrated Award


PI: Dr. Stephen Searcy (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, TAMU Biological and Agricultural Engineering)
Co-PI: Dr. Michael Popp (University of Arkansas, Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness)

Funded: $246,236

Start Date: 07/01/2007

End Date: 06/30/2011


Expected Outcomes

In addition to regular progress reports, the deliverables from this grant funding and the anticipated dates of completion will be:

  1. knowledge of the visco-elastic properties of chopped switchgrass material as a function of moisture and particle size (July 2009)
  2. information regarding trade offs between harvest moisture content and length of chop for purposes of module stability, handling and transport weight limitations (December 2009)
  3. a preliminary economic model that can perform sensitivity analysis on energy, labor and capital cost associated with the two proposed harvest, storage and transport systems (July 2008)
  4. a breakeven analysis regarding tradeoffs related to more extensive equipment utilization vs. likely switchgrass yield losses associated with extending the harvest window (December 2008)
  5. estimation of annual harvest capacity per harvest unit given typical weather data and optimal harvest window identified above (December 2009)
  6. detailed cost of production budgets from field to biorefinery for round baling and module building (July 2010) g. report on switchgrass production and harvest activity impact on other farm operation and processing activities (July 2010)


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