Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ethanol from Switchgrass Releases 94% Less CO2 Than Oil

Internet (TGW) – Using switchgrass as the source of biofuels cuts emissions 94% compared with petrol, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Also, switchgrass derived ethanol produces 540% more energy than required to collect it.

The study involved 10 farms, and is described as the largest of its kind. A report last year suggested switchgrass only produces 343% of the energy required to collect it.

"A lot of their information was based on small plot data and also estimates of what would be needed in the agronomic production of biofuels," coauthor Dr Vogel explained. "We had on-farm trials, so we had all the data from the farmers on all the inputs needed to produce the crops,” including nitrogen fertiliser, herbicides, diesel and seed production.

The process to produce ethanol from switchgrass is more complex than producing ethanol from corn, but the product, 2nd generation “cellulosic” ethanol, yields much more energy.

Burning biofuels produces greenhouse gases, but producing the plants absorbs a comparable amount. However, other factors make the fuel rarely carbon neutral. Switchgrass may be an exception.

"Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of ethanol from switchgrass, using only the displacement method, showed 88% less GHG emissions than conventional ethanol," the researchers wrote.

Many scientists, environmentalists, and politicians have expressed concern over 1st generation biofuels.

Via :: BBC