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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Net Energy of Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass

Authors
item Schmer, Marty
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Mitchell, Robert
item Perrin, Richard - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 23, 2007
Publication Date: January 7, 2008
Citation: Schmer, M.R., Vogel, K.P., Mitchell, R., Perrin, R.K. 2008. Net Energy of Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105: 464-469.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass was managed as a biomass energy crop in field trials on marginal cropland on ten farms in three Great Plains states for five years to determine net energy based on inputs and yields. Switchgrass produced 540% more renewable energy than nonrenewable energy consumed. Greenhouse gas emissions from switchgrass were 94% and 76% lower than gasoline or corn ethanol, respectively. Switchgrass managed for high yield had equal or greater net energy than low input perennial polycultures and can produce 350% more liquid fuel per hectare. Improved switchgrass genetics and agronomics will enhance net values and increase total energy yields per acre.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass was managed as a biomass energy crop in field trials on marginal cropland on ten farms in three states to determine net energy based on inputs and yields. Net energy averaged 43.5 GJ ha-1 y-1. Switchgrass produced 540% more renewable energy than nonrenewable energy consumed. Greenhouse gas emissions from switchgrass were 94% and 76% lower than gasoline or corn ethanol, respectively. Switchgrass managed for high yield had equal or greater net energy than low input perennial polycultures and can produce 350% more liquid fuel per hectare. Improved switchgrass genetics and agronomics will enhance net and total energy yields.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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