Monday, February 01, 2010

Biomass Energy Is a Whole Lot More Than Just About Global Warming.

This past week the EPA issued notification that it is reviewing
water quality standards
in Florida. This issue of water quality and management brings up a key agricultural talking point of biomass energy and energy crops that's not discussed in the main stream media.

With Biomass Energy, a key focal point in the Media will always be Global Warming -- we understand this reality. However, the story of biomass energy is much more than just greenhouse gas emissions. The complete story includes what we call the catalytic pro-active environmental impacts in developing biomass energy resources involving "best management carbon management" in agriculture.

Through our work with the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab (growing energy crops on marginal lands from phosphate mining), we achieved a dramatic increase in soil organic carbon (SOC) in the soils.

Soil Carbon Percentages Found Before &
2.5 Years After Energy Crop Planting

But our story doesn't just end with carbon sequestration, rather it is just the beginning of pro-active environmental benefits that can occur by implementing carbon management in agriculture which include:

  • The nature of soil carbon having multiple charges (+ and -), allowing for the "capture" of cations and especially anions of phosphorus and nitrogen that impact water quality (e.g., nutrient laden water run-off into lakes and streams).
  • The ability of soil carbon to hold and create "pathways" for increased hydrology in soils.
  • The ability of soil carbon to increase soil micro-organisms, free oxygen, and anion holding capacity (i.e., nitrogen)-- reducing the need for fertilizer inputs for crops.
  • The ability of Energy Crops to be an effective strategy in reducing/eliminating invasive species of plants (land and hydra-flora).

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