Hard pressed to reduce toxic vehicular emissions in order to slow down global warming, scientists from all over the world have been coming up with various alternatives to the highly polluting fossil fuels. Biofuel from corn is one of them. However, one problem with it is that corn is resource-intensive to grow and hence has a fallout on the environment. Plus, it is more useful as food.
A new form of biofuel formulated from switchgrass, which is non-edible and is found in quite a few parts of North America, has been recently used a by group of scientists from Colorado State University to overcome the challenges presented by corn.
Scientists Find Carbon Footprint Far Lesser in Biofuel from Switchgrass
They leveraged modeling to simulate different scenarios for growing and uncovered a climate footprint within -11 and 10 grams of carbon dioxide per mega-joule (this is the typical manner in which greenhouse gas emissions are measured). Compare this with the 94 grams of carbon dioxide per mega-joule.
The study was published on online journal Nature Energy on February 19. The team of scientists discovered that switchgrass actually enables storing carbon in the soil. In this manner one can build up organic matter and sequester carbon.
Switchgrass happens to be more productive as crops and do not need large amounts of fertilizer or even irrigation. In addition, farmers need not plough the field annually to plant new crops for they are fit for ten years or longer. For the purpose of study, researchers zeroed in on site in Kansas because it has a plant to manufacture cellulosic biofuel.