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Switchgrass or Prairie Grass

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  1. Biomass
Papers
  1. -Prairie Grass for Biomass (BiomassCenter.org)
      "Perennial grasses are now being used as a solid fuel in co-fired coal power plants as well as targeted as a choice feedstock for such advanced biofuels as cellulosic ethanol. Despite this focus on generating electricity and producing liquid fuels, perennial grasses can also be pressed into pellets, briquettes, and cubes and used as a heating fuel to replace or complement fuels made from wood fibers. Including a thermal component in the use of solid biomass for energy increases a combustion system’s efficiency more than threefold." 12-12

  2. Aruno Donax Giant Reed (HuffingtonPost.com)
      "It's fast-growing and drought-tolerant, producing tons of biomass per acre. It thrives even in poor soil and is a self-propagating perennial, so it requires little investment once established."

      "To people in the renewable fuels industry, Arundo donax – also known as 'giant reed' – is nothing short of a miracle plant. An Oregon power plant is looking at it as a potential substitute for coal, and North Carolina boosters are salivating over the prospect of an ethanol bio-refinery that would bring millions of dollars in investment and dozens of high-paying jobs to hog country."

      "But to many scientists and environmentalists, Arundo looks less like a miracle than a nightmare waiting to happen. Officials in at least three states have banned the bamboo-like grass as a 'noxious weed'; California has spent more than $70 million trying to eradicate it. The federal government has labeled it a 'high risk' for invasiveness." 11-12

  3. Drought-Resistent Perennial Grasses: Types (Treehugger)
      "According to a NASA study on lawns, 50,000 square miles of grass covers the US, which it says should be turfgrass to reduce watering, which the EPA estimates accounts for one third of Americans' water usage."

      Perennial grasses are very effective for soil carbon sequestration. 07-11

  4. Drought-Resistent Perennial Grasses: Types (ag.udel.edu)
      "A permanent bed does not mean that you can plant it and forget it. A lot of maintenance is required to keep the perennials weed-free and in bounds. Because many perennials spread rapidly, they have to be kept under control or they will crowd out less aggressive species."

      "Soil preparation is the most important step in establishing a perennial bed. Lay out the area you want to plant and remove all the sod, weed stems and roots. Cover the area with 2-4" of peat moss; add 5-10 lbs ground limestone per 100 sq. ft.; add 3-4 lbs of 0-20-20 or 6-8 lbs or 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Using a good heavy duty roto-tiller work the whole area as deep as possible several times, or until the peat is well mixed with the soil."

      Perennial grasses are very effective for soil carbon sequestration. Also see Xeriscaping. 07-11

  5. Drought-Tolerant Grasses for Homes (Saws.org)
      "These approved grass varieties were chosen for their ability to survive with very little or no water for extended periods...." These varieties of Bermuda grass are approved for use in San Antonio, Texas: Celebration, Common Bermuda, GN1, Grimes EXP, Tex Turf, TifSport, and Tifway 419. The grass requires full sun, responds quickly to watering after a drought, and is extremely tolerant to traffic. Buffalo grass requires little or no watering after it is established but does not tolerate traffic well and must be mowed very high, if at all. Zoysia grass tolerates foot traffic, sun, and shade but grows slowly. 12-12

  6. Giant Miscanthus Prairie Grass for Carbon Sequestration (Repreverenewables.com)
      "The grass provides up to 25 tons of biomass per acre, about 5 times more than switchgrass." 01-14

  7. Miscanthus Giganteus Outperforms Current Biofuels Sources (Illinois.edu)
      "In the largest field trial of its kind in the United States, researchers have determined that the giant perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus outperforms current biofuels sources – by a lot. Using Miscanthus as a feedstock for ethanol production in the U.S. could significantly reduce the acreage dedicated to biofuels while meeting government biofuels production goals, the researchers report." 12-10

  8. Miscanthus Giganteus Outperforms Other Biofuels (Repreve Renewables)
      "Produces up to 25 harvested tons per acre at maturity"

      Around 8,000 Btu/lb, 16 mm Btu/ton, on dry matter basis"

      "Approximately $3.75 per mm Btu at $60/dry ton purchase price"

      "Moisture content at harvest of 10-15%"

      "Highly efficient at carbon storage"

      Low ash content & mineral content—very clean burning" 02-14

  9. Perennial Grasses More Efficient Than Corn or Soybean (Mongabay.com)
      "Biofuels derived from low-input high-diversity (LIHD) mixtures of native grassland perennials can provide more usable energy, greater greenhouse gas reductions, and less agrichemical pollution per hectare than can corn grain ethanol or soybean biodiesel. High-diversity grasslands had increasingly higher bioenergy yields that were 238% greater than monoculture yields after a decade. LIHD biofuels are carbon negative because net ecosystem carbon dioxide sequestration (4.4 megagram hectare–1 year–1 of carbon dioxide in soil and roots) exceeds fossil carbon dioxide release during biofuel production (0.32 megagram hectare–1 year–1). Moreover, LIHD biofuels can be produced on agriculturally degraded lands and thus need to neither displace food production nor cause loss of biodiversity via habitat destruction." 02-09

  10. Perennial Grasses and Cattle (ABCnet.au)
      "Drought-tolerant perennial pastures could make a big dent in Australia's greenhouse emissions by helping soils to soak up carbon, says one researcher."

      He says results from a trial, which ran for more than three years on a farm in Lancelin, show Rhodes grass can capture and sequester nearly 7 tonnes per hectare of CO2 equivalents per year more than traditional pasture." 02-09

  11. Perennial Grasses and Cattle (Living on Earth)
      "Well, so much of the world's annual crop production is used to feed cattle. And a lot of that could be substituted for by returning to having animals instead graze on pasture. And if you have perennial pastures, long lived grasses, you can actually produce very high levels of meat and dairy production without having to depend upon the use of a lot of grain."

      Perennial grasses are very effective for soil carbon sequestration. 02-09

  12. Perennial Grasses and Cattle (Living on Earth)
      "Well, so much of the world's annual crop production is used to feed cattle. And a lot of that could be substituted for by returning to having animals instead graze on pasture. And if you have perennial pastures, long lived grasses, you can actually produce very high levels of meat and dairy production without having to depend upon the use of a lot of grain."

      Perennial grasses are very effective for soil carbon sequestration. 02-09

  13. Potential for Carbon Sequestration with Perennial Grasses (Rumore, Sulzman, and Young)
      "Increasing SOC storage through changes in land use and land management is a low cost and environmentally beneficial way of sequestering substantial amounts of atmospheric CO2. Conversion of cropland to grassland, improved grassland management, and conversion to no-till farming can improve soil carbon sequestration. Although rates of sequestration and total SOC values vary among studies of grassland systems, it seems likely that grassland systems provide valuable carbon storage." 05-11

  14. Prairie Grass Reserve Purchased (ABC News)
      "A conservation group said Tuesday it has bought a 150,000-acre Montana ranch in a major step toward its goal of a national park-caliber prairie wildlife preserve that is stoking fears of change in the heart of cattle country."

      "Steve Page with Page Whitham Land and Cattle confirmed that the family-owned South Ranch near Glasgow had been sold for an undisclosed sum to the American Prairie Reserve. The Bozeman-based group aims to create a multi-million-acre grasslands wildlife complex around northeast Montana's C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge." 08-12

  15. Prairie Grass for Biomass (Iowa State University)
      "It is suggested that mixed plantings of switchgrass, Indian grass, and little bluestem with leguminous forbs may provide the greatest benefit and further research should be done to compare mixtures and monocultures of these species." 12-12

  16. Replacing Corn With Perennial Grass Uses Less Land for Ethanol (eScienceNews.com)
      "In the largest field trial of its kind in the United States, researchers have determined that the giant perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus outperforms current biofuels sources – by a lot. Using Miscanthus as a feedstock for ethanol production in the U.S. could significantly reduce the acreage dedicated to biofuels while meeting government biofuels production goals, the researchers report. The new findings, from researchers at the University of Illinois, appear this month in the journal Global Change Biology." 02-09

  17. Replacing Corn With Perennial Grass Uses Less Land for Ethanol (eScienceNews.com)
      "In the largest field trial of its kind in the United States, researchers have determined that the giant perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus outperforms current biofuels sources – by a lot. Using Miscanthus as a feedstock for ethanol production in the U.S. could significantly reduce the acreage dedicated to biofuels while meeting government biofuels production goals, the researchers report. The new findings, from researchers at the University of Illinois, appear this month in the journal Global Change Biology." 02-09

  18. Study: Switchgrass for Carbon Sequestration (MTU.edu)
      Provides the methods and results in studying the effects of grasses on long-term (104 years) temperatures. 12-12

  19. Switchgrass (Wikipedia.org)
      "Switchgrass is often considered a good candidate for biofuel — especially ethanol fuel — production due to its hardiness against poor soil and climate conditions, rapid growth and low fertilization and herbicide requirements. Switchgrass is also perennial, unlike corn and sugarcane, and has a huge biomass output, the raw plant material used to make biofuel, of 6-10 tons per acre."
      "Switchgrass has the potential to produce the biomass required for production of up to 100 gallons (380 liters) of ethanol per metric ton.[4] This gives switchgrass the potential to produce 1000 gallons of ethanol per acre, compared to 665 gallons for sugarcane and 400 gallons for corn." 07-06

  20. Switchgrass for Carbon Sequestration (MailonSunday.co.uk)
      "Projected economic benefits of renewable energy derived from a native prairie grass, switchgrass, include nonmarket values that can reduce net fuel costs to near zero. At a farm gate price of $44.00/dry Mg, an agricultural sector model predicts higher profits for switchgrass than conventional crops on 16.9 million hectares (ha). Benefits would include an annual increase of $6 billion in net farm returns, a $1.86 billion reduction in government subsidies, and displacement of 44-159 Tg/year (1 Tg = 1012 g) of greenhouse gas emissions." 06-09

Purchase Resources
  1. Grass Pellets (EnviroEnergyNY.com)
      Provides grass pellets for burning or pyrolyzing. "Comparing costs per BTU is a constantly shifting challenge, as the prices of oil, propane and other fuels spiral ever upwards. One thing we know for sure is that 17 pounds of pellets will equal the BTU’s of one gallon of oil. With grass pellets about twelve cents a pound, that comes to $2.04 – less than half of the current per gallon price of delivered home heating oil or propane." 12-12

   
   


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