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Growing Bioenergy Feedstocks on Hog Effluent Spray Fields- an Economic, Environmental, and Energy Assessment

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131547529,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Kevin R Caffrey, Matthew B Whitfield, Joshua L Johnson, Matthew W Veal, Mari S Chinn
Keywords:   Sweet Sorghum Bermudagrass North Carolina Spray Field Pig Manure Ethanol Bioenergy Energy Balance Life Cycle Assessment Economic Analysis.

Abstract. North Carolina has grown to the third largest pork exporter in the United States mainly through the use of concentrated animal feed operations. Hog farming produces a large quantity of nutrient rich waste material that is generally disposed through land application. Currently the fields are composed of primarily bermudagrass which is removed at regular intervals to reduce nutrient loads. This material has a limited market and due to the high density of hog farms the market is over saturated in many areas of North Carolina. Using high yielding bioenergy crops may increase nutrient removal rates, supplement farmer income, reduce bioenergy feedstock production costs, and provide beneficial bioenergy production characteristics. Sweet sorghum was chosen as the feedstock of choice due to its accelerated growth rate, high bioethanol production potential, and ease of crop management. Five scenarios have been used for comparison: sweet sorghum grown on effluent spray fields, traditional farm grown sweet sorghum, and bermudagrass grown on effluent spray fields (at replanting schedules of 20 year, 10 year, and 5 year). Economic, environmental, and energy assessments are calculated to the field edge due to the multiple processing possibilities related to sweet sorghum.

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