Monday, August 04, 2008

perennial grass ethanol: field study

Scientists from the University of Illinois are conducting the largest known field trial for Miscanthus, a giant perennial grass. Their results indicate that using Miscanthus as an ethanol feedstock could significantly boost biofuel production in the U.S. while greatly reducing the acreage devoted to them.

According to Stephen Long, a professor of crop sciences at UIUC, it would be possible to produce enough cellulosic ethanol with 9.3% of agricultural land to offset a fifth of our current gasoline consumption. By comparison, it would take 25% of current cropland to produce an equivalent amount of corn-based ethanol. Similar field trials conducted for switchgrass were disappointing. Like many perennial grasses, Miscanthus can be grown in poor quality soil and can store a lot of carbon dioxide - making it close to carbon neutral.

via Treehugger

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