Farming-4-Energy

An Energy Farm conceptually, is a farm that might produce home heat sources from hay, Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass or Reed Canary Grass in its fields or from left over corn stalks after combining, power from wind turbines standing in pastures, dead lands, or fields, power from solar PV installations on all roofs, power from exercise equipment in the home, and geothermal circulating underground to be used to heat & cool buildings. A set up like that which contains some or all of these components could certainly be considered a farm that doesn't produce milk, vegetables, or meat, but one which produces energy.  A similar set up could be an existing dairy, vegetable, or beef farm that adds in some of these components to serve as another "crop" that they farm, where this crop is energy - thus the phrase "Energy Farming".
 

Examples of energy farm scenarios are as follows:


Dedicated Energy Farm
Utilize farm resources as energy crops to produce multiple products from single crops grown on the farm, all while integrating energy from solar power, wind, and geothermal sources to power an operation:
 

1) Food (corn, soybean, oats, wheat)
2) Fuel made from harvesting left over stalks
3) Heat sources (briquettes or pellets) from the leftovers of the Cellulosic Ethanol production process
4) Biochar as fertilizer (leftover from burning briquettes or pellets)
5) Electrical power production via syngas made from consuming briquettes or pellets in a CHP unit

6) Geothermal used to heat/cool buildings or to cool the end of the distillation step in ethanol production

7) Solar power to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility
8) Wind power to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility

9) Power from methane from cow manure (large dairy farm) to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility


Gym:

1) Solar power on roof to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility

2) Electrical power generated from power producing exercise equipment
3) Geothermal to heat/cool the building (if enough land/Parking lot is available)

4) Wind power to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility (if enough land is available)


Home owner with some land:

1) Solar power to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility

2) Geothermal to heat/cool the building

3) Wind power to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility


Office Building:

1) Solar power on roof to run all buildings and equipment with excess sold to the power utility

2) Electrical power generated from power producing exercise equipment (if facility has a workout room)
3) Geothermal to heat/cool the building (if enough land/Parking lot is available)


Shown below is what a modern Energy Farm might look like if the form of a tabletop model I built that shows residential wind turbines, solar panel installations, a Geothermal system being installed, and grass being harvested for Cellulosic Ethanol and grass pellet production.  Sometime in the near future, I plan to establish something similar to this using elements of energy farming that are being worked with as shown in the Calaboga and Phoenix sections below.

  

Below are pictures of some energy producing equipment and installations we have home. We are now building plans to take each of these ideas and concepts to the next level, where we will set up operations to supports commercial production (pellets & briquettes), installation (Thin Film solar), and use (power producing exercise equipment). At some point soon we also plan to test taking the left over solids from the cellulosic ethanol production and produce pellets and briquettes for heating from these solids.

Below I've taken some broad strokes at laying out how I see the U.S as a nation better adopting the concept of Energy Farming both in the near term, and over the next several years. None of these technologies and concepts by themselves are the single answer to our energy situation, but combined, would certainly help our country create employment, tax revenue, local economic revenue, energy security & independence, and globally would help to help to displace current energy sources that have harmful side effects and cause conflict over availability.


The gallery below shows process flow diagrams that outline the trial process and concepts of getting 10 energy sources from 1 crop. Notice that these processes incorporate other aspects of Energy Farming such as wind and solar power, thus truly making this process an energy farm where in the end we'll be producing electrical power, heat sources, fuel, and other products.