The bioenergy industry has primarily used Miscanthus for combustion in power plants. It has desirable properties of low water and ash contents following a dry-down period before harvest. Current research is focused on its potential as a biomass crop for direct combustion and for lignocellulosic conversion to ethanol and other biofuels. This 3-page fact sheet was written by John Erickson, Curtis Rainbolt, Yoana Newman, Lynn Sollenberger, and Zane Helsel, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, September 2012.
Switchgrass has been recognized by the United States Department of Energy as a potentially important source of ethanol. This publication evaluates the economic potential of producing switchgrass as a perennial bioenergy crop in Florida. In South Florida, two cuts of “hay” for biofuel are possible, whereas in North Florida, one cut would normally be taken after frost in late fall. These two harvest systems are evaluated and compared, and cost estimates are provided. This 7-page fact sheet was written by Zane R. Helsel and José Álvarez, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, December 2011.
Giant reed is currently being evaluated as a potential biomass energy crop in Florida, even though some scientists and those in other states consider it to be a noxious or invasive weed. This 4-page fact sheet discusses the adaptation and production of giant reed as a potential energy crop and presents measures for controlling giant reed as an escaped weed. It does not give specific recommendations on whether it is better to control giant reed or produce it for biofuel. Written by Dennis Odero, Robert Gilbert, Jason Ferrell, and Zane Helsel, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, November 2011.
This 9-page fact sheet provides estimates of costs and returns to produce ethanol from sugarcane, rather than sugar. These preliminary estimates should guide researchers as to whether sugarcane varieties are economically feasible to be considered for biofuel/energy production. Written by José Álvarez and Zane R. Helsel and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, August 2011. UF/IFAS Photo by Tom Wright.
Energycane is a cross of commercial sugarcane with wild sugarcane. It is higher in fiber and lower in sucrose than commercial sugarcane. This 7-page fact sheet provides estimates of costs and returns to sugarcane farmers and determines whether energycane can provide sufficient economic returns to warrant further research into its use as an energy crop. Written by José Álvarez and Zane R. Helsel and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, August 2011. USDA/ARS photo by David Nance.
Sweet sorghum has been designated as “potentially viable” as a biofuel crop. This 8-page fact sheet evaluates the economic potential of producing sweet sorghum as an annual bioenergy crop in the state of Florida. Written by Zane R. Helsel and José Álvarez, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, August 2011. UF/IFAS cover photo: Tyler Jones.
Nationwide, switchgrass is recommended for biofuel production because of its wide range of adaptation and high potential dry matter yield with relatively low fertility input. It can be used for both lignocellulosic ethanol production and in electricity generation, complementing coal as a co-firing agent supplement. Less is known about switchgrass production in Florida than other biofuel crops. This 4-page fact sheet describes the biofuel potential, biology, production, potential yields, production challenges, estimated costs, and environmental concerns. Includes references. Written by Yoana Newman, Mary J. Williams, Zane Helsel, and Joao Vendramini, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, March 2011.
SS-AGR-318, a 4-page illustrated fact sheet by Robert Gilbert, Jason Ferrell, and Zane Helsel, discusses the adaptation and production of Arundo as a potential energy crop and presents measures for controlling Arundo as an escaped weed, based on initial observations in preliminary university trials and cited literature. Includes references. Published by the UF Department of Agronomy, November 2008.