Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Carrier, Danielle Julie, 1959-

Reader

Cothren, Jackson

Second Reader

Osborn, Scott

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to explore the possibility of siting a biorefinery that produces cellulosic ethanol in the Delta region of Arkansas, which is the main agricultural area of the state. Four major crops that the state of Arkansas produces on a yearly basis that could potentially be used for cellulosic ethanol production are: corn, rice, sorghum, and soybeans. This research will result in the generation of maps that will be useful in quantifying feedstock produced in the Delta region of Arkansas, which can be used by a biorefinery. An actual site will not be chosen based strictly off this research. However, the general area for the location of the biorefinery could be inferred from the results of this research. In order to help determine the best location for the refinery, the ten counties of the Delta region were ranked by how much of each crop they produced from 1999-2011. A Geographic Information System (GIS), that included the Cropland Data Layer, was used as the primary data source for land usage in each county. The amount of land used for each type of crop in each county was then converted into how much of each type of crop was produced. The yearly totals were averaged together and then the counties were ranked by crop production for each crop. Throughout the Delta region in the state there were pockets of concentrated areas of each crop. Sorghum was concentrated in the southern part of the Delta, rice was concentrated in the center of the Delta region, and corn was concentrated in the northern and southern tips of the Delta region. Soybeans were the exception to the trend, each county produced about the same amount of soybeans.

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