In the 2006 State of the Union Address, President Bush mentioned switch grass ethanol. Shortly thereafter, NPR produced a good 4.5 minute audio intro about switch grass. Professor David Bransby said one of the advantages of switch grass is that it is a high yield crop (5 to 10 tons per acre) with low production costs (i.e. low fertilizer costs). It also grows all over the US, the whole plant is used to create ethanol, and "for one unit of energy in, we get about four units of energy out in the form of ethanol."
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Biofuel: corn ethanol? switch grass? algae?post #1 of 312/12/07 at 5:04pmThread Starterpost #2 of 31/22/08 at 11:33am
Here's the beginning of a great article on cellulosic ethanol from Gristmill:
"When it comes to biofuels we have choices. We can do it poorly, using short-run approaches with no potential to scale, poor trajectory, and adverse environmental impact. Or we can do it right, with sustainable, long-term solutions that can meet both our biofuel needs and our environmental needs.
We do need strong regulation to ensure against land-use abuses. I have suggested that each cellulosic facility be individually certified with a LEEDS-like "CLAW" rating, and that countries which allow environmentally sensitive lands to be encroached be disqualified from CLAW-rated fuel markets.
We think a good fuel has to meet the CLAW requirements:
C -- COST below gasoline
L -- low to no additional LAND use; benefits for using degraded land to restore biodiversity and organic material
A -- AIR quality improvements, i.e. low carbon emissions
W -- limited WATER use.
Cellulosic ethanol (and cellulosic biofuels at large) can meet these requirements.
Environmentally, cellulosic ethanol can reduce emissions on a per-mile driven basis by 75-85% with limited water usage for process and feedstock, as illustrated later. Range, Coskata, and others currently have small-scale pilots projecting 75% less water use than corn ethanol, with energy in/out ratio between 7-10 EROI (though we consider this a less important variable than carbon emissions per mile driven)." (Vinod Khosla, Gristmill, January 29, 2008)
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