Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interesting research into biofuels.

A very wellcome, and interesting piece of research has just come to my attention via Renwable Energy World.

Apparently, you can give up the fertilier, expensive irrigation, and much of the disruption to the soil associated with growing corn.

"Switchgrass is very prodctive when grown like corn in a fertile soil with lots of fertilisers, pesticides and energy inputs, but this approach doesnt have as much energy gain as mixed species on poor soils, nor does it have the same environmental benefits"

You can also give up monocultures such as miscanthus. The best way of producing biomass for co-firing with coal or burning in biomass power stations is to grow a combination of prarie grasses.

"Research conducted by the University of Minesota has shown that a natural mix of prarie grasses can produce 238% more energy than monoculture crops such as switchgrass, corn and soy.

The conclusions, which have been made by ecologist David Tilman are based on ten years of research and show that an acre of native peranial grasses and flowering plants produce more usable energy than many other enrgy crops and is far better for the wildlife and the environment..."

Not a bad idea for bioenergy! Sounds like a win-win to me.
[update] minisota website, thanks to green style mag for the link.

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