Date of Award

5-2011

Embargo Period

4-5-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Engineering and Public Policy

Advisor(s)

M. Granger Morgan

Second Advisor

Jay Apt

Third Advisor

Scott Matthews

Abstract

Through land use and biomass utilization, humans are dominant forces in the planetary biosphere
and carbon and nitrogen cycles. Economic subsidies and policy mandates for producing biomasssourced
fuels and electricity could increase further the human appropriation of planetary net
primary productivity. After reviewing the magnitude of organic byproducts available as
feedstock, and presenting a model of the climate impact of organic waste management, this
dissertation focuses on the climate impact of the main biomass consumers in the United States:
livestock, including beef and dairy cattle, chickens (for meat and eggs), pigs and turkeys.
Existing estimates of feed consumption by livestock are synthesized, showing that beef cattle in
particular are large consumers of cellulosic biomass in the form of hay and grazed roughage. I
then determine the extent to which harvesting energy from animal manure can reduce and offset
the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from producing animal products. Finally, a life cycle
assessment (LCA) of an integrated animal product and bioenergy facility is presented. Biomass
flows and global warming potential (GWP) are modeled for two systems: one where the animal
production and bioenergy facilities are distinct and one where the facilities are integrated. The
animal production system includes a mix of animals. Such a system may be able to more
efficiently utilize byproducts from each system, but increasing the concentration of animals and
manure nutrients may make such a system difficult to implement

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