A new study by Kenneth Vogel from the University of Nebraska shows that farming switchgrass as biofuel will produce 540% more energy than is required to grow and manufacture it.
This can be compared to 25% for corn ethanol and 93% for soybean ethanol. But one of the more interesting and positive result from the study was that the emissions created by switchgrass would be around 94% lower than the emissions from petrol. That means switchgrass would be almost carbon neutral.
Another positive thing with using switchgrass as biofuel is that it does not need to take up valuable land areas. Kenneth Vogel explains that switchgrass only needs to be grown on secondary croplands. And the switchgrass only needs to be planted once as it returns year after year.
Rainer Zah, head of the Life Cycle Assessment & Modelling group of the Swiss Materials Science and Technology research institution, EMPA, in Saint Gallen, acknowledges that switchgrass seems to be a very promising fuel but he worries about its dinitrogen oxide emissions, a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
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