Modification of the Composition and Quality of Hybrid Poplar Biomass in the Pacific Northwest
Small Business Information
333 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 502, P.O. Box 5905, Portland, OR, 97204
Abstract73021-There is a pressing need for the development of renewable energy sources in the Pacific Northwest. Hybrid poplar plantations have been developed extensively in the region for the pulp and paper, veneer, furniture, and environmental-remediation industries, and can be expanded further to provide renewable raw materials for the biofuels and bioproducts industries. In this project, current elite hybrid varieties will be tested for high rates of energy conversion, and a study of energy-quality characteristics within the region¿s most important hybrid (Populus generosa) will be undertaken to elucidate the most productive method of hybrid breeding for the development of future varieties. In Phase I, 92 elite poplar varieties were collected and propagated. Studies were conducted to determine market demand for new Populus varieties and the potential for forming an industrial genetic improvement cooperative. Eight sites and cooperators were located for the establishment of test plantings using currently available elite materials. Phase II will conduct an inheritance study of calorific value in the P. x generosa hybrid to determine the degree to which energy conversion potential can be manipulated and exploited through selective breeding. The technology of near infrared scanning will be developed and refined so that large plant populations can be phenotyped in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. Replicated varietal site trials, using elite germplasm to identify superior selections with which energy plantations can be initiated in the near term, will be conducted. Finally, the economic viability of poplar feedstock production using a multiple-product management strategy will be demonstrated. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Superior poplar varieties capable of sustained production of 22.4 bone dry biomass tons per hectare per year, with improved biomass quality, should become available to the commercial nursery industry. An expansion of commercial poplar plantations in support of the energy industry would contribute much to the Pacific Northwest region. Additionally, poplar biomass feedstock is a carbon-neutral source of energy, the combustion of which is compatible with greenhouse gas concerns.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.