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Local production for local use is the ‘biofuel’ model that works in Vermont

The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative offers local perspective in response to recent ethanol news and shares new statewide bioenergy website resource 

vermont bioenergyMontpelier, VT — A report published this week in Nature Climate Change indicated that ethanol made from corn residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions, indicating the harvested leftovers from corn are “worse than gasoline for global warming,” according to the Associated Press, who released the study results.

In Vermont the term “biofuel” and “bioenergy” are commonly used to refer to woody biomass (e.g., chips and pellets), anaerobic digestion (e.g., new manure and food scrap digester at Vermont Tech), and on-farm biodiesel production.

A scale-appropriate model of local bioenergy production for in-state use is being pioneered by farmers and researchers. These emerging renewable energy resources include switch grass for heating, algae production for biofuels and wastewater management, and oilseed crops for on-farm biodiesel production, equipment use, and animal feed. Since 2003, the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative has been funding research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects—along with its partners at the University of Vermont Extension—in order to develop the infrastructure to connect diversified agriculture and local renewable energy production for on-farm and community use. A new website www.VermontBioenergy.com provides a series of written and video resources in these emerging fields of bioenergy.

“Local oilseed biodiesel production for local use is profoundly different from national and international models of biofuel production. While corn-based ethanol and palm oil biodiesel are gaining negative attention for their impacts on the environment and food security, biofuels that are produced and used locally help transition away from unsustainable models of food and fuel production,” states Sarah Galbraith, program manager of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative. “Local production for local use works well in conjunction with sustainable food production.”

Vermont is particularly dependent on fossil fuels for heating and transportation, sending its energy dollars largely out of state. In the case of locally produced biodiesel, three products can be made from one crop: animal feed, organic fertilizer, and biofuel for heat, transportation, and farm equipment.

US corn-based ethanol mandates are bringing additional acres into mono-crop production, in some cases converting sensitive natural areas like native grasslands and forestland into farmland. In contrast, local bioenergy production for local use incorporates rotational crops like sunflowers and soybeans into acres already in production. Vermont farms growing oilseed crops for biodiesel production are doing so on long-established cropland in the context of diversified and sustainable food production.

The ethanol mandates are raising grain costs nationally, making feed expensive for Vermont dairy farmers. Local bioenergy production, however, means farmers produce their own feed, fuel, and fertilizer for on-farm use, at a fraction of the cost and at more stable prices.

The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative’s newly launched website features an in depth look at oilseed production and biodiesel operations with case studies, research, and educational videos. The website also features similar resources for grass energy and algae for biofuel and wastewater management as well as information on other biofuels being produced and used in Vermont. www.VermontBioenergy.com

1 comment to Local production for local use is the ‘biofuel’ model that works in Vermont

  • Biofuel is not a solution to our energy problem. It will create more problems. The raw material to produce this fuel is not abundant. So biofuel is a wrong thing…Well, The time couldn’t be better that now the new idea popping up on horizon:-
    Mother Nature is the only one planet amongst her siblings in this universe who can support lives. Not only that she supports all of her inhabitants in her facilities but she also nurtures them with all the balances of her elements. The perfect combinations of air, land, water and gravity. Additionally, she orbits around the sun at a certain distance in order to maintain the moderate level of radiation from the sun and also revolves around herself thus all inhabitants can have what they need to grow. Most of them have thrived. There is one creature amongst them whose way of life has impacted effectively on Mother Nature. The impacts that can alter the balances of her elements. The impacts that can wipe out her precious elements which she has saved for millions of years. That creature is human being. The way humans live their lives is different from any other creatures as we have learned.
    Our Mother Nature is so nice to us. She provides us with things that we need. Things(fossil deposits) that she has saved for millions of years. We pick them out from her purse to consume, then we leave garbage(toxic waste,green house gases,ashes) for her to clean up. That is not very nice, is that? It is very despicable for mother this nice to receive the treatment like this. But it is inevitable because we need to live on.
    At some point of time some of us come up with ideas to amend the dire situations by offering the green energy as an alternative to obtain energy. There are several methods to produce clean energy but all of them are futile. Because every method comes up with conditions and restrictions to determine when the apparatus is able to produce energy and when not to be able to. So it will be inadequate energy. We fail to get rid of the despicable treatments that we have been giving to our mother. We have been tied up with the dire situations for quite some time.
    I have observed and despised the dire situations for all along. Until about 4 years ago I came across something very interesting and unprecedented. This idea is to build the apparatus that is driven by the gravitational and buoyant forces. It works in any waters. Once being set up and running, this apparatus will generate ample supply of electricity by itself around the clock anywhere on this planet. There are no pros and cons to discuss about, neither conditions nor restrictions. The great news is that we can eventually extricate ourselves completely from the carbon footprint and the notion “save energy”. as well. Eventually, we can treat our nice mother the way that she deserves.
    There are three major elements that all of us rely on for our energy needs. Natural gas, coal and crude oil. These are actually wrong elements to be used to fulfill our energy needs. The effects of using them are sinister that could come to hurt us seriously in some ways. Additionally, these are limited supplies. They should have been used for some specific applications. It will be a huge mistake if we just live on without doing any corrections. We are human being, we live our lives with plans. This is what makes us different from any other earth inhabitants. Most people have realized that but what are the alternatives? HYDRO-ELECTRENERGY is an answer to this question but in order to be completely extricated from carbon footprint we have to get one more element under control. That element is hydrogen.
    Hydrogen is an ubiquitous element on earth. It is proven to be a right element that will eradicate the carbon footprint out of our lives. Unfortunately, it can not stay by itself in our environment that we can just grab it. It coheres with some other elements by chemical bond. The significant amount of electricity as an energy is required to break this bond. In order to obtain usable amount of hydrogen.
    Hydrogen has been proven to be the best source of energy but it has hit the roadblock. It does not make sense to produce hydrogen from conventional sources and also too expensive. When we already have crude oil to support our energy needs. So people are counting on alternative methods but with all methods that we acquire are inadequate to produce hydrogen to support our energy needs. That is why hydrogen has hit roadblock and stopped on its track. In fact, nice things about what hydrogen can do are nothing new to our knowledge. Is hydrogen tantalizingly out of our reach? Yes..but…not any more. Here is when the big plan is being implemented on this issue. Since this system can produce ample supply of electricity. We are now capable of producing hydrogen in significant amount at a very low cost or no cost at all. We now can expel the carbon footprint out of our lives once and for all. We can live our lives without carbon footprint at last.
    Hydrogen can be extracted from some substances available in our atmosphere. The only one substance with benign consequences for Mother Nature is water. It is abundant in our surroundings. Water can be from any available sources and it doesn’t have to be purified. So it is practically cost free for hydrogen production since there is an ample supply of electricity being generated at no running costs.
    The great thing that happens when water is chosen as raw material to produce hydrogen is that we do not consume water in the process. We borrow water from Mother Nature and after we use energy then we give water back to her. Remember, hydrogen that is extracted from water is being forced to cohere with oxygen in the air by the chemical reaction(combustion). Energy and water are the results. Now we have the energy to fulfill our needs and the water is released back to earth. That is the idea of recycling. We just need energy to nourish our preferred lifestyle and we have found the way to recycle the water to get energy we need. Isn’t that fantastic? It is time folks to wake up and smell the aroma of flowers after being smothered by the carbon smoke for too long. But first, before all these happen we have to congregate to get the prototype up and running. So please go to http://hydro-electrenergy.com look through the whole website. If you agree on the idea, please donate small contribution to the project. Many hands can lift the big project off the ground.

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