Switchgrass-Based Ethanol Nets Major Energy Gain

Switchgrass grown for biofuel can produce 540% more energy than needed to grow, harvest and process into cellulosic ethanol, according to estimates from a large on-farm study conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The study also found that greenhouse gas emissions and cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass were 94% lower than estimated greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline production. Perennial crops like switchgrass, as well as crop residues and forestry biomass, could be developed as major cellulosic ethanol sources that could potentially displace 30% of current U.S. petroleum consumption.

Switchgrass grown in this study yielded 93% more biomass per acre and an estimated 93% more net energy yield than previously estimated in a study done of planted prairies in Minnesota that received low agricultural inputs. The study demonstrates that biomass energy from perennial bioenergy crops, such as switchgrass, can produce significantly more energy per acre than low input systems. Less land will be needed for energy crops if higher yields can be obtained.

In Other No-Till News

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  • Wil-Rich will become the exclusive marketer of Redball’s line of strip-till equipment. Redball strip-till units will be available on Redball toolbars up to 30 feet wide, and on Wil-Rich Houck toolbars up to…

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