Folks have railed against me for liking the idea of using Ethanol as a fuel. And, I admit that using corn as a source for Ethanol is problematic! However, when President George W. Bush was laughed at for saying that research was pointing to switchgrass as an Ethanol source, folks may have been a bit premature!
It turns out that plain ol’ boring switchgrass is a very good source for biofuel! A recent study says that we can get well over 500% more power out of using switchgrass than goes into cultivating it! That’s no small return!
“(NaturalNews) Biofuel produced from a fast-growing variety of grass can produce 540 percent more energy than is used during its manufacture, according to a study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers grew switchgrass on 10 different farms, ranging between three and nine hectares in size, for five years. They calculated the energy used to produce the fertilizers, herbicides, diesel and seeds used in the switchgrass production. Because no large-scale biorefineries currently exist, the researchers used estimates to calculate how much biofuel could be produced from the switchgrass farms’ output. In contrast to an earlier study, which found a net energy gain of 343 percent, the researchers found a 540 percent energy gain from switchgrass. The researchers did not include in their calculations how much energy used to ship the switchgrass to a refinery. In order to keep these costs low and the energy output high, they recommended that biorefineries be constructed near the fields on which switchgrass is grown.”
So, leave the corn for food and livestock feed, and use switchgrass! (What else are you gonna do with it?)