Switchgrass-based ethanol may yield 540 percent more energy than needed to grow and produce

According to Ken Vogel, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service geneticist in UNL's agronomy and horticulture department, "Switchgrass is not only energy efficient, but can be used in a renewable biofuel economy to reduce reliance of fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance rural economies."

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, as the latest and largest study to date on greenhouse gas emissions from cellulosic ethanol with a switchgrass biomass source were 94 percent lower than estimated greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline production and that 540 percent more energy was yielded than needed to grow, harvest and process it into cellulosic ethanol. Those are encouraging numbers. Alcohol-based fuels still have a ways to go to prove that they can be a viable alternative to gasoline, but it is encouraging when results such as these are recorded in studies. Ethanol still contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, though an engine designed to run solely on the fuel can make up for some of the lost energy output due to the higher octane rating. We look forward to seeing biofuels and electricity fight it out in the quest to end our addiction to oil.

[Source: The University of Nebraska via Science Daily]

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