Epplin, Francis M.

By: Tembo, Gelson; Epplin, Francis M.; Huhnke, Raymond L.
While theoretically more efficient than starch-based ethanol production systems, conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol is not without major challenges. A multi-region, multi-period, mixed integer mathematical programming model encompassing alternative feedstocks, feedstock production, delivery, and processing is developed. The model is used to identify key cost components and potential bottlenecks, and to reveal opportunities for reducing costs and prioritizing research. The research objective was to determine for specific regions in Oklahoma the most economical source of lignocellulosic biomass, timing of harvest and storage, inventory management, biorefinery size, and biorefinery location, as well as the breakeven price of ethanol, for a gasification-fermentation process. Given base assumptions, gasification-fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol may be more economical than fermentation of corn grain. However, relative to conventional fermentation processes, gasification-fermentation technology is in its infancy. It remains to be seen if the technology will be technically feasible on a commercial scale.
By: Epplin, Francis M.
From 1986 to 1995 the Oklahoma five-year moving average wheat grain yield declined from 32.6 to 26.7 bu./ac. This study was conducted to determine why the state average wheat yield declined. Changes in government program provisions and changes in production practices were investigated. Changes in acreage base and changes in program diversion requirements were associated with changes in planting date and changes in the proportion harvested for grain that had been fall/winter grazed. Yield responded to these induced changes in production practices. Yield was inversely related to the proportion of the state's wheat acres planted prior to 1 October and inversely related to the proportion of acres harvested for grain that had been winter grazed.