Saturday, January 26, 2008

cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass promises good energy balance

An abstract from a study by researchers at the USDA and University of Nebraska indicates ethanol from switchgrass should result in "540% more renewable than nonrenewable energy consumed" and overall emmissions of greenhouse gases would be 94% lower than from ethanol-free gasoline. Switchgrass field for this study were established on 10 farms across widely varied locations in the middle portion of North America. These results still need to be reproduced on a commercial scale, but this is perhaps the best indication to date that ethanol from switchgrass could be highly renewable and reduce greenhouse gases significantly. Soil erosion would be less as compared to traditional row crops as well.
Net energy of cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass -- Schmer et al., 10.1073/pnas.0704767105 -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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