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[Report] SENEWS-2008-02-12 Report

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Farmers in the United States sometimes plant switch grass as a border crop, but could this tall grass lower the nation's dependency on foreign oil? The Department of Energy plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollors to help preduce fuels from materials that are not part of the food supply. Growing corn or maize for fuel has raised concerns above the supply and cost of corn availabe for food and animal feed. Fuel made from switch grass or forest waste like Soudas is known as Seliulosic ethanol, Department officials say it contains more egergy and produce fewer green house gases than ethanol made from corn. Switch grass is also easier to grow.

Last month, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study of switch grass grown on low quality land, government scientist Can Guogo was the leader often. The study says the switch grass produce five times more energy than was needed to grow it. Also it says swicth grass over its life time from crop to fuel produces much less carbon compared to gasoline. Farsole fuels like oil take carbon from ground and release it as waste gas when the fuel is burn. Bio-fuels like corn and Saliuosic athanol also produce green house gases through growing crops and making the fuel. The difference is the bio-fuels remove carbon from the atmosphere through the growth of the feed stock, the material for the fuel.

Science Magazine just published two studies of bio-fuels and heat triping gases that scientistes link to climate change. One of reports notes that most studies have found that substituting bio-fuels for gasoline will reduce green house gases, but it says the ealier studies fail to cut carbon released into the atmosphere as farmers worldwide react to higher prices. There are clean forestes and grasslands to make way for new crop land to replace the grain used for bio-fuels. Doing so can release much of carbon stored in the plants and soil, and secrofice future storage. The study found that corn based athanol could increase green house gases for years from land use change. And it found bio-fuels from switch grass if grown on American corn land could also increase immissions though buy less. The study team led by T.S. at Princeton University says the result shows the value of using waste products for fuel. The other reports says carbon savings depend on how bio-fuels are produced.
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