Bioenergy Cropping Gains Attention

Opportunities for growing bioenergy crops in Ohio, energy policies that impact this activity and potential markets for biomass will be covered at a workshop April 8 at Piketon.

Published on: Mar 19, 2013

Bioenergy crops are gaining the attention of researchers and farmers in Ohio. Some of the bioenergy crops that are being researched in Ohio include a perennial warm-season grass known as miscanthus, says Rafiq Islam, soil, water and bioenergy specialist with OSU South Centers at Piketon.

"Miscanthus is getting a lot of attention across the Midwest because of its adaptability to many different soil types, low-nutrient requirements, fast-growing nature, confined growth, and lack of dispersal -- not like Johnson grass (an aggressive weed that can outcompete crops)," Islam says. "Miscanthus has a high biomass output that can be used for combustion or conversion to cellulosic ethanol or butane."

GRASS OPTION: Miscanthus is one of the bioenergy crops that will be discussed during the workshop.
GRASS OPTION: Miscanthus is one of the bioenergy crops that will be discussed during the workshop.

Opportunities for growing bioenergy crops in Ohio, energy policies that impact this activity and potential markets for biomass are the topics that will be covered at a workshop taking place April 8 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Ohio State University's South Centers at Piketon.

"The workshop will review a bioenergy case study from Ashtabula County, provide insight on bioenergy crop opportunities from researchers at Ohio State University and Michigan State University, and offer a walking tour of bioenergy crops on the OSU South Centers campus," said Eric Romich, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in energy development and co-leader of OSU Extension's Energize Ohio signature program.

Registration for the event is $10 and includes breakfast and hot lunch. To register, call 740-289-2071 (ext. 132) or 800-297-2072 (ext. 132), or e-mail mcglothin.4@osu.edu. The workshop is limited to the first 125 registrants.

Another crop that will be featured during the workshop is guayule, a southwestern woody shrub that can produce a diesel-like fuel in addition to rubber.

Topics and speakers include:

•"Energy Trends and Policy Overview," Romich.
•"Bioenergy Crop Opportunities in Ohio," Islam.
•"Michigan State University Bioenergy Crop Production and Research," Dennis Pennington, MSU Extension bioenergy specialist.
•"Case Study: Ashtabula County Miscanthus," David Marrison, OSU Extension educator, Ashtabula County.
•"Land Capacity in Southern Ohio," Jeff Fisher, OSU Extension educator, Pike County.
•"Guayule Crop Production in Ohio," Katrina Cornish, endowed chair in bioemergent materials, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State.
•"Bioenergy Crop Field Tours," Islam.

For more information on the workshop, visit www.energizeohio.osu.edu.

The workshop will be held at OSU South Centers' Endeavor Center (room 160), 1862 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio.