BioEnergy Systems LLC (BES) is actively involved in establishing large-scale production of dedicated energy crops in the U.S. and worldwide.


Key considerations regarding dedicated energy crops include:

  • Examples of dedicated lignocellulosic (“cellulosic”) energy crops include perennial herbaceous grasses (e.g., Miscanthus giganteus), short-rotation woody crops or "SWRCs" (e.g., cottonwood), and certain annual crops (e.g., energy sorghum).
  • Purpose-grown biomass will play an increasingly important role in meeting our future energy needs (liquid fuels, thermal energy, electricity).
  • Dedicated cellulosic energy crops are carbon-neutral
    (“closed-loop”)…i.e., total net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from production and use of energy products derived from dedicated energy crops are zero.
    • In many instances, these bioenergy systems are net carbon positive…e.g., through carbon sequestration in perennial root systems, closed-loop energy systems can achieve a net reduction in GHGs.
  • Other environmental benefits…e.g., no-till farming systems, which further reduce GHG emissions and entail significant water quality benefits


  • Rural economic benefits…to landowners, farmers, and rural communities, through capital infusion, income from operations, and ripple effects
  • Reliable feedstock supply…energy farms can provide long-term supplies of biomass with consistent quality – assurance of feedstock supply is often essential for financing bioenergy projects.
  • As with all agricultural crops, agronomic yield is critical.  All else being equal, a crop that gets twice the yield of another crop will require half the production land area… and will substantially reduce transport requirements (and associated emissions of GHGs per ton of biomass produced). 
    • The graphic below shows the relationship between yield and land requirements.
  • Crops such as corn and soybeans have been considered by some to be “energy crops” for first-generation biofuels; however, second-generation biofuels – using cellulosic energy crops – will substantially increase energy production from agricultural lands. 
    • The second graphic below compares gross and net energy production of various first- and second-generation biofuels.
  • Important public sector support programs have been created (at both Federal and state levels) to support the establishment and production of cellulosic energy crops. 
    • Contact BES for specific information and associated economic benefits that may apply to landowners and farmers.


  • Land use:  Agronomic yield is the single greatest factor affecting the economic feasibility of dedicated energy crops.  Higher yields require less production land and result in lower GHG emissions for a given amount of biomass production.  Production of energy crops on low or marginal quality lands will likely result in lower or maginal agricultural yields, thereby requiring a larger ecological footprint for a given amount of energy production. Determination of the target portfolio of land types to be used for production of energy crops should be done on an ecosystem-specific basis (and usually on a project-specific basis).
  • Environmental concerns:  Establishment and production of cellulosic energy crops must address numerous environmental considerations associated with such crops.  Evaluation of potential risks and development of risk management strategies should be realistic and reflect the best available scientific data. 
  • Algae as a potential feedstock: The potential for bioenergy production from algae is significant. Some strains contain up to 40% lipids/oils by weight, with some yield projections beyond 10,000 gallons per acre per year.


This graphic shows that, as expected, the crop with 1/4th the agronomic yield of the high-yield crop would require 4x production land area.


Thus, agronomic yield is critical to minimizing the ecological footprint of an energy crop.

This graphic shows that the energy production of herbaceous energy crops ("HECs") is expected to be substantially greater than the energy production (gross or net) from first-generation biofuels.


Note the difference between gross energy production and net energy production for each of the biofuels options.