Biofuels to run farm machinery and equipment will be produced on-farm through manure processing and vegetable oil seed crops. Biofuels are produced through biomass conversion by living organisms through carbon fixation and can be in solid, liquid, or gas form to produce bioethanol or biodiesel. Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermentation that can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is most often used as a gasoline additive to increase octane and improve vehicle emissions. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils and animal fats and can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is mainly used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles.
The farm will devote 5% of its acreage to vegetable oil seed production to be used for extraction and conversion to biodiesel, with the remaining vegetable solids used for animal feed. Cold pressed oil is used for biofuel, and oil seed cake is used for animal feed. Polymers are used to clarify the oil and the oil subsequently undergoes chemical conversion to biodiesel. ARE crop production methods take advantage of GPS-based Precision AG-soil analysis and manure nutrient management planning (NMP). Plant cover crops are needed for carbon balance. The necessary nitrogen levels are achieved by fertigation with high nitrogen, low phosphorhous liquid from manure during the growing season to prevent runoff, and high phosphorous, low nitrogen fertilizer pellets produced on-farm from manure are applied. Our research on the crop and products will determine the economic benefits of biodiesel versus purified vegetable oil for direct use in operating farm vehicles and machinery.