advanced biofuelssearch for term

Liquid biofuels made from non-feed, non-food feedstocks. That is, these fuels do not use biomass? that could have been used to feed animals or to provide food for humans.

GHGssearch for term

Green house gases.

bioenergysearch for term

Energy derived from recently living plant material, or biomass?; excludes fossil fuels; it is produced in a cycle that may reduce carbon emissions.

biofuelsearch for term

Liquid fuel & gas produced from two types of biomass? - plant sugars or starches (e.g., grains), or cellulosic materials; it is produced through fermentation, gasification?, or pyrolysis?. Commercial-scale? cellulosic biofuel? technology not yet widely available.

biomasssearch for term

Organic material that can be converted into useable energy; also called feedstock? in bioenergy? production; there are 2 kinds of biomass? – lignocellulosic and sugars/starches.

biomass supply chainsearch for term

The network of interconnected people and businesses involved in the provision of biomass? for production of bioenergy?.

biomass-based energysearch for term

A term used interchangeably with “bioenergy”.

biopowersearch for term

Electricity, heat (steam) or both, produced from biomass?; it is produced through gasification?, fermentation, digestion, pyrolysis? or combustion of biomass; it is typically produced from cellulosic biomass. Combustion can occur with biomass alone, or with biomass co-fired with coal or natural gas. Commercial scale? cellulosic biomass markets are not yet widely developed.

carbon neutralitysearch for term

Achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. It is used in the context of carbon dioxide releasing processes, associated with transportation, energy production and industrial processes.

cellulosesearch for term

A carbohydrate that is the principle component of wood. It is made of linked glucose molecules that strengthens the cell walls of most plants.

cellulosic bioenergy cropssearch for term

Perennial non-food plants grown for bioenergy? feedstock? using a cropping systems approach to production which may or may not include tillage, and application of inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides.

cellulosic ethanolsearch for term

Ethanol derived from any lignocellulosic or hemicellulosic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis.

community-basedsearch for term

Refers to the creation and/or operation of a bioenergy? project with members of a community as equal partners in decision-making and/or investments; also refers to bioenergy projects that deliver energy to a community, usually at the level of a town, small city or within a rural setting.

dedicated bioenergy cropssearch for term

Annual or perennial crops that are used solely for bioenergy? feedstock?. For annual crops such as corn to be considered dedication bioenergy crops no substantial portion of the crop can be used for food or feed.

ecosystem servicessearch for term

Services provided by ecosystems that benefit humans and are necessary for a healthy planet like oxygen production, water purification, pollination, soil formation and nutrient recycling.

energy independencesearch for term

A goal for reducing the amount of imported petroleum.

energy securitysearch for term

Energy security? has two key dimensions, reliability and resilience. Reliability means users are able to access the energy services they require, when they require them. Resilience is the ability of the system to cope with shocks and change.

environmental servicessearch for term

The benefits humans receive directly or indirectly from geophysical processes of natural systems, such as precipitation; and of managed systems, such as erosion prevention by conservation tillage.

feedstocksearch for term

Biomass? materials processed into a suitable form for conversion into bioenergy?.

gasificationsearch for term

The process that converts biomass? feedstocks into biofuel? by reacting the feedstock at high temperatures with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting mixture is call synthesis gas, or syngas, which is itself a fuel.

grassessearch for term

A large and widespread family of herbaceous plants having narrow sheath-forming and simple leaves, and a stem or stems that are jointed and tubular.

grasslandssearch for term

Areas dominated by grasses? or other herbaceous vegetation; with no or few trees.

hybrid poplarsearch for term

A fast-growing hybrid tree currently used for both wood and paper pulp; hybrid poplar? has also been explored for use as a dedicated energy crop using such applications as gasification? and conversion to bio-oil.

miscanthussearch for term

A fast-growing perennial crop from Asia being explored for use in cellulosic ethanol? production; miscanthus? produces a high volume of biomass? within a small land-use footprint and requires little or no fertilizer.

mixed-scalesearch for term

Involving a mixture of small-, medium, and large-scale? pre-processing, conversion, and distribution operations; may also involve a combination of ownership and management arrangements including cooperatives, local investors, and non-local investors.

monoculturesearch for term

The agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture and its implementation has allowed for large harvests from minimal labor.

polyculturesearch for term

The agricultural practice of using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture?. It includes crop rotation, multi-cropping, intercropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping.

pyrolysissearch for term

A thermochemical process for converting biomass? feedstock? to biofuel? requiring low temperatures and the absence of oxygen. Biocoal, char, and syngas are products of pyrolysis? conversion technologies.

recalcitrancesearch for term

The inability of a nutrient to be degraded or transformed by a cell. Possible reasons for recalcitrance? include the lack of necessary membrane transport mechanisms for the chemical or lack of enzymes that facilitate its transformation or degradation.

renewable energysearch for term

Used to describe energy sources that are replenished by natural processes on a sufficiently rapid time-scale? so that they can be used by humans more or less indefinitely, provided the quantity taken per unit of time is not too great.

residuesearch for term

May be used to refer to materials left over after forest harvest activities, or the materials left after harvest of agricultural crops. Agricultural residues include stalks and stubble, and shattered leaves and stems.

scalesearch for term

Refers to the size and economic organization of an industry or a particular facility; a small-scale? operation would typically produce much less bioenergy? with a smaller facility and likely fewer owners/investors than a large-scale facility.

second generation biofuelssearch for term

Also known as advanced biofuels?; liquid biofuels made from non-feed, non-food feedstocks. That is, these fuels do not use biomass? that could have been used to feed animals or to provide food for humans.

small-scale distributedsearch for term

Refers to an approach to widespread energy distribution involving many small-scale? production facilities spread out over a region, state, or states.

stoversearch for term

The residues of grain crops but most often refers to the residue of corn.

switchgrasssearch for term

A perennial forage crop being explored for the production of cellulosic ethanol?. Due to a deep and extensive root system, switchgrass? is currently used to provide erosion control, and has also proven highly productive in terms of terrestrial carbon sequestration.

trade-offssearch for term

A situation involving the balancing of reduction in one benefit with the increase of another.

Anerobic Digestion and Biogas

UW Extension have created seven modules focused on the use of anaerobic digestion technologies. Details of the process are introduced, as well as factors that influence start-up, operation and control of anaerobic digesters at different scales.

Contact Us:


Carol Williams
(608) 890-3858 (office)
(515) 520-7494 (mobile)
Department of Agronomy
1575 Linden Dr.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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A visit to switchgrass? trial plots run by Iowa State University researchers; near Ames, IA. Photo by CL Williams, 2010.