State, UW researchers present biomass energy guidelines
From an article by Adrianna Viswanatha in The Badger Herald:
Several state agencies have unveiled guidelines created in congruence with University of Wisconsin researchers to promote the continued use of biomass energy in Wisconsin, despite the state’s current categorization as a leader in the field of biomass crop planting.
A statement released Tuesday by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Natural Resources outlined a system of guidelines put in place to assist in the implementation of biomass energy.
The “Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvesting Guidelines for Nonforest Biomass” document is the result of a two-year joint effort by the DATCP, DNR and a tech team at UW to establish the guidelines.
Sara Walling, DATCP bioenergy policy advisor, said Wisconsin is the first state that has looked at the process of creating guidelines for biomass crop planting.
“Wisconsin wanted to make sure that when markets developed for biomass crop planting, we had guidelines set up in voluntary fashion so that landowners can make informed decisions about when and how to plant these crops,” Walling said.
Walling said the guidelines are multi-disciplinary and are intended to provide guidance at the field level for farmers and landowners for not only how to plant the crops, but also on how to remove them.
Biomass crop harvesting involves growing crops that are not meant primarily for food.
“To have cheap biomass, which is a necessary catalyst, you have to have more yield per acre, and we can’t figure that out until we start planning it out,” said Troy Runge, assistant professor of biosystems engineering at UW.
Runge said increasing biomass crop harvesting brings many ecological benefits to the environment.