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[Report] SENEWS-2008-02-12 Report

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report

Farms in the United Sates sometimes plant switchgrass as a border crop but could this tall gross lower the Nations dependence on foreign oil?

The department of energy plans to invest hundreds of millions dollars to help produce fuels from materials that are not part of food supply. Growing corn or maize for fuel has raise concerns about the supply and cost of corn available for food and animal feed.

Fuel made from Switchgrass or forestry waste like sawdust is known as cellulosic ethanol. Department official say it contains more energy and produces few green house gases than ethanol made from the corn. Switchgrass is also easier to grow.

Last month the proceedings of national academic of sciences published a study of Switchgrass grown on lower quality land. Government scientist Kan.Worgol was the leader author. The study says the switchgrass produced 5 times more energy than was needed to grow it, also it says Switchgrass over its life time from crop to fuel produces much less carbon compare to gasoline. Fossil fuels like oil take carbon from the ground and released a waste gas when the fuel is burned. While fuels like corn and cellulosic ethanol also produce green house gases through growing crops and making the fuel.

The differences that biofuels remove carbon from the atmosphere through the growth of feedstock the material for the fuel. Science magazine just published two studies of biofuels and hit trapping gases that scientists link to climate change. One of the reports notes that most studies have found that substituting biofuel for gasoline will reduce green houses gases. But it said the early studies failed to count the carbon released into the atmosphere as farmers worldwild react to high prices, they are cleaning forests and grass lands to make way for new crop land to replace the green used for bio-fuels, doing so can released much of carbon stored in the plans and soil and sacrifice future storage.

The study found that corn bears ethanol could increase green house gases for years from land use change and it found the biofuel from switchgrass if grown on American cornland could also increase emissions though by less. The study team led by Temty.Seachinge at Prinston University says the result shows the value of using waste products for fuel. The other reports says carbon savings depend on how biofuels are produced.

And that is the VOA Special English Agriculture Reports written by Jerrolen Warson
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