If ethanol has a future, something like switchgrass is what that future is, not corn.
Temple lab is experimenting with switchgrass, canola oil as alternative energy sources
Clay Coppedge, May 21, 2007 (Temple Daily Telegram)
Jim Kiniry & Rick Haney, USDA research scientistS, Grasslands Soil and Water Research Laboratory;
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Switchgrass is the most promising plant with which to make ethanol, a biofuel. Canola oil may be an efficient plant diesel (biodiesel) fuel.
- Kiniry’s research with switchgrass as a fuel began in 1993.
- Haney’s research project on canola oil as a biodiesel fuel begins in the fall.
Grasslands Soil and Water Research Laboratory, Temple, Texas
- The scientists see the perfecting of switchgrass and canola oil fuels as contributions to national energy security and agribusiness.
- Kiniry is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). He works with Alamo switchgrass, a perennial bunch grass, currently a limited-use forage and erosion-preventative ground cover which can get too stemmy. Kiniry is starving the plant of nitrogen and will use dairy waste compost to increase yields.
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Kiniry: “The potential [or switchgrass] is enormous…You don’t have to replant it every year and you can use the same harvest equipment that you use for hay. It can be produced on land that’s ordinarily not good ag land, or it can be planted where you might usually plant corn…Once it’s established, it’s much cheaper to produce than corn and it helps reduce soil erosion…Getting it established is not as easy as some people say. It’s not like corn in that you plant it and it’s going to come up. But once you get it established, it’s very economical.”