At the moment, America’s number one crop for producing biofuel is corn. However, naturally growing plants like switchgrass also have great potential as a biofuel crop because they do not require much, if any, inputs such as watering, fertilizing, or pesticides. To date, it has been difficult to find the ideal location for harvesting the right grasslands to make it
The energy industry is particularly adept at taking raw material and turning it into products. Whether producing heat, power, or fuel, the model has proven exceptionally efficient at moving highly concentrated and homogenous resources over long distances through intricate supply chains.
GCB Bioenergy journal has published a study in which scientists present the findings of a study on switchgrass as cellulosic ethanol feedstock. They concluded that using switchgrass bioenergy can help reduce emissions but add that further research “to address the significant sources of uncertainty” (such as what type of land is converted to switchgrass), is
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) have made a discovery that could increase the production of ethanol and lower its costs.
They say they have pinpointed the gene that controls ethanol production capacity in a
There’s a kernel of good to this story, if you care about climate change and high food prices.
Sure, ethanol has been a great example of how America can begin to overcome its dependency on foreign fossil fuels. But using a staple like corn to make the biofuel has driven up food prices and displaced other food crops.
Now comes the Obama administration, which has proposed new rules for renewable fuels, aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, he’s vowed to help prop up the corn ethanol industry with stimulus dollars, and commit stimulus funds to biofuel research.