Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Study: Miscanthus More Than Twice as Productive as Switchgrass for Energy Crop
www.greencarcongress.com ^ | 07/11/2007 | Staff

Posted on 07/12/2007 8:28:29 AM PDT by Red Badger

Miscanthus. Standing next to the grass is Dr. Emily Heaton (now with Ceres), who is 5' 4" (163 cm) tall. Source: UIUC

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made the first direct comparisons of the biomass productivity of two C4 perennial grasses: switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus). The two have been widely trialed as low-input bioenergy crops in the US and EU, respectively.

Results from the trials throughout Illinois show that Miscanthus is more than twice as productive as switchgrass. Its efficiency of conversion of sunlight into biomass is amongst the highest ever recorded. The research team presented their results at Plant Biology and Botany 2007, a joint congress including the American Fern Society (AFS); the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB); the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT); and the Botanical Society of America (BSA).

The team, led by Frank Dohleman of the Plant Biology Department, theorized that Miscanthus produces more usable biomass than switchgrass because of these three key attributes:

1.

Miscanthus can gain greater amounts of photosynthetic carbon per unit of leaf area; 2.

Miscanthus has a greater leaf area; and 3.

Miscanthus has a longer growing season.

The research team measured the amount of gas exchanged on the upper canopy of Miscanthus leaves from pre-dawn to post-dusk on 20 dates in the 2005 and 2006 growing seasons. The averages from two years’ data showed that Miscanthus gained 33% more carbon than switchgrass.

Integrated measurements also showed that the Miscanthus leaf area was 45% greater than switchgrass and that Miscanthus plants grew an average of eleven days longer than switchgrass. This extended growing season and accompanying lower temperatures proved to further boost the photosynthetic activity of Miscanthus. Specifically, pyruvate Pi dikinase was found to be expressed at higher rates when ambient temperatures are lower. This enzyme supports C4 photosynthesis in Miscanthus.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is working with the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in forming the new $500-million Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) funded by BP, with UC Berkeley taking the lead. (Earlier post.)

As part of the EBI, some 340 acres of farmland at the Urbana campus will be devoted to the study and production of feedstock for biofuel production. Researchers will explore the potential benefits of using corn crop residues, switchgrass, Miscanthus and other herbaceous perennials as fuel sources. The initiative will explore how adequate supplies of high quality plant biomass can be sustainably produced and utilized in facilities that convert the biomass to fuels.

Feedstock development is one of five research areas at the EBI. The others are biomass depolymerization; fossil fuel bioprocessing (converting heavy hydrocarbons to cleaner fuels) and carbon sequestration; socio-economic systems; and biofuels production. In addition to feedstock development and socio-economic research, Illinois will work with the other research institutions on biofuels production. UC Berkeley will lead this part of the project, with Illinois joining the search for the most efficient use of microbes to harvest the energy in plants for biofuels.

Resources: “Does increased daily carbon assimilation coupled with a higher Leaf Area Index and longer growing season explain the difference in productivity between two potential bioenergy crops?”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: biomass; ceres; energy; ethanol; pollution
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-58 next last
Looks like the grass in my yard........
1 posted on 07/12/2007 8:28:33 AM PDT by Red Badger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sully777; Fierce Allegiance; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; ...

Ethanol ping!......


2 posted on 07/12/2007 8:29:19 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Don't worry honey... I'll mow next week... I promise!
3 posted on 07/12/2007 8:30:31 AM PDT by gridlock (WAR IS PEACE / FREEDOM IS SLAVERY / DIVERSITY IS STRENGTH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I just planted this in my yard (got tired of feeding the deer with everything else). Now I have my own “Green Gold!”


4 posted on 07/12/2007 8:30:49 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

That chick is hot.


5 posted on 07/12/2007 8:32:04 AM PDT by krb (If you're not outraged, people probably like having you around.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

The grass in my yard is whatever my neighbors half a mile in all directions have seeded their lawns with. There must be twenty varities. They all grow very quickly for a few days and then stop. If there is a way to program grass growth so some is always in this rapid growth phase there could be a never-ending supply of biomass. That stuff is over and done in a week.


6 posted on 07/12/2007 8:32:33 AM PDT by RightWhale (It's Brecht's donkey, not mine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

If we are going to use biofuels this is the only way that makes sense. Using corn is idiotic.


7 posted on 07/12/2007 8:33:50 AM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: krb

She can’t be hot. She’s standing in the shade.......


8 posted on 07/12/2007 8:36:06 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale

It’s not just growth but the right stuff to turn into ethanol........If it was just growth, kudzu would be perfect........


9 posted on 07/12/2007 8:38:28 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: 6ppc
Using corn is idiotic.

Not everybody is aware that all corn is engineered and Monsanto is already working on hybrid specials for the ethanol process.

10 posted on 07/12/2007 8:40:10 AM PDT by RightWhale (It's Brecht's donkey, not mine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

In order to be feasible it would need to generate, at a bare minimum, about 10 times as many gallons of ethanol per acre than corn does.


11 posted on 07/12/2007 8:42:38 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Keep your friends close; keep your enemies at optimal engagement range)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

We don’t have kudzu, but we have vetch. Bumper crop this year. Totally useless but looks nice from a distance of 200 yards.


12 posted on 07/12/2007 8:42:58 AM PDT by RightWhale (It's Brecht's donkey, not mine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale

You don’t have kudzu.....now........but you will eventually......It’s slowly covering the entire planet............


13 posted on 07/12/2007 8:46:34 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale

In addition, most people think that we have a realistic way to crack cellulose. Until that problem is solved, all we can do with this grass is burn it or feed it to cows.


14 posted on 07/12/2007 8:46:55 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("By the simple exercise of our will, we can exert a power for good practically unbounded, etc, etc.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: krb

If you look carefully, there’s some tall grass growing in the background.


15 posted on 07/12/2007 8:47:56 AM PDT by Redcloak (The 2nd Amendment isn't about sporting goods.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
We don’t have kudzu, but we have vetch. Bumper crop this year. Totally useless but looks nice from a distance of 200 yards.

It's not totally useless. It's a legume and fixes nitrogen, so therefore it's good for the soil. It can be made into hay (it ain't alfalfa, but it's got some protein). Also, it makes a seed that ground birds such as quail like to eat.

16 posted on 07/12/2007 8:50:58 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Kudzu is the goatherder’s friend. Fence it off and turn ‘em loose...they’ll eat it down to the dirt, and continue to chomp every successive shoot that comes up. Kudzu is great fodder, and over time the goats’ll kill it if you’ve got a high enough density of goats on the plot.


17 posted on 07/12/2007 8:53:44 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

It makes a cool noise when its seed pods are popping. Although I have tried, not recently, I have not been able to actually see a seed pod open. The vetch is an import by DOT about 1994 from Pennsylvania for one of its highway projects. From there it has been spread everywhere that cars go, such as past my yard. It’s a climbing vine of sorts and drags weaker plants to the ground.


18 posted on 07/12/2007 8:55:59 AM PDT by RightWhale (It's Brecht's donkey, not mine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: VanShuyten
In addition, most people think that we have a realistic way to crack cellulose.

Good old-fashioned pyrolysis works, if you don't mind the end product being methanol.

19 posted on 07/12/2007 8:59:18 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
It’s not just growth but the right stuff to turn into ethanol.....

Ethanol is a terrible fuel. And with current technology, plants high in sugar or starch would be best. I doubt that any of the grasses would be good for it.

20 posted on 07/12/2007 9:00:36 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
This article has some glaring problems. It does not tell us what kind of fuel Miscanthusell will create. It does not tell us how its production capacity compares with other methods in gallons/acre. It does not tell us the energy cost to grow and produce fuel from this plant. It looks like a program waiting for a government handout to make it work. The woman makes good PR to attract a government subside.
21 posted on 07/12/2007 9:01:45 AM PDT by jonrick46
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VanShuyten; RightWhale
Oh, about cracking cellulose...thermal depolymerization works too. Check the stats at the following link for TDP using paper (i.e. cellulose) as feedstock; there's a high fraction of natural gas as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_depolymerization

22 posted on 07/12/2007 9:03:34 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Foxworthy: “If you’ve ever mowed your lawn and found a car, you might be a Redneck.”


23 posted on 07/12/2007 9:09:26 AM PDT by poindexter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Miss Canthus (standing next to the grass) is NOT GUILTY!


24 posted on 07/12/2007 9:10:13 AM PDT by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger; krb

Definitely NOT GUILTY.

25 posted on 07/12/2007 9:13:38 AM PDT by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
"Miscanthus can gain greater amounts of photosynthetic carbon per unit of leaf area; 2. Miscanthus has a greater leaf area; and 3. Miscanthus has a longer growing season."

Which is all well and sounds great, but the ONE datum that is needed and doesn't seem to be here is how much fermentable carbohydrate per acre does it yield relative to switchgrass.

26 posted on 07/12/2007 9:37:11 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Looks like the grass in my yard........

Not mine. Mine's dead.

27 posted on 07/12/2007 9:40:44 AM PDT by null and void (...and there'd be world peace and fuzzy puppies for everyone. And then we could eat them...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

Burning large amounts of hydrocarbons to yield hydrocarbon fuels seems to defeat the purpose. Until an enzymatic or catalytic process is found to break down cellulose, it’s probably better to just burn the fuel directly in cars or power plants.


28 posted on 07/12/2007 9:50:53 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("By the simple exercise of our will, we can exert a power for good practically unbounded, etc, etc.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Dr. Emily Heaton can ride on my lawnmower any old time.


29 posted on 07/12/2007 9:53:13 AM PDT by CholeraJoe ("Who are you and what have you done with Hermione Granger?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Most likely they ar looking at this grass for ethanol as well as bid-diesel capabilities. This grass may be fairly significant as the biomas is so high.

Looking forward to more research in this area.


30 posted on 07/12/2007 10:01:30 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VanShuyten
Burning large amounts of hydrocarbons to yield hydrocarbon fuels seems to defeat the purpose.

When you state it that way, sure it does. But the important thing to remember is that the end product is a motor fuel compatible with current engine technology and the existing fuel distribution system. The "large amounts of hydrocarbons" you start with (in the form of solid industrial waste or even giant bales of miscanthus) aren't that. It's worth some investment in the process not to have to re-invent the automobile and the gas station.

Besides, if you read the whole article on TPD, you'll find that with most feedstocks the process generates enough fuel to self-sustain the process and produce fuel besides. At the turkey plant they use the gas to fire the cooker, and the oil is sold.

Most importantly, we have to stop thinking of fuel energy as "free." Fuel is a storage medium for energy that originally came from some other source. That's all it ever has been. The fact that for about a century we've been pumping it out of the ground just confuses the issue.

31 posted on 07/12/2007 10:05:52 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Looks like the grass in my yard........ Not mine. Mine's dead.

I really need to fix that mower.......this weekend.......or next.......

32 posted on 07/12/2007 10:06:22 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: r9etb

Wow! I think I am in love!


33 posted on 07/12/2007 10:17:13 AM PDT by krb (If you're not outraged, people probably like having you around.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

If you don’t water, you don’t have to mow...


34 posted on 07/12/2007 10:40:25 AM PDT by null and void (...and there'd be world peace and fuzzy puppies for everyone. And then we could eat them...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

When someone looks at using Kudzu, I will pay attention.


35 posted on 07/12/2007 10:43:11 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JamesP81

Why is that?


36 posted on 07/12/2007 10:47:31 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: RedStateRocker; Dementon; eraser2005; Calpernia; DTogo; Maelstrom; Yehuda; babble-on; ...
Renewable Energy Ping

Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off

37 posted on 07/12/2007 10:50:31 AM PDT by Uncledave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
Not everybody is aware that all corn is engineered and Monsanto is already working on hybrid specials for the ethanol process.

Ya, and responsible for the Collasping Colony Syndrome and Morgellons both ..., tell me, have you noticed the lack of insects, we are here in the midwest, no grasshoppers, bees, nothing, there are no insects left ...
38 posted on 07/12/2007 10:54:04 AM PDT by Scythian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: null and void

We have to water. There are 2 dogs in there somewhere.........


39 posted on 07/12/2007 10:55:46 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

If you must have pets, get goats...


40 posted on 07/12/2007 10:57:02 AM PDT by null and void (...and there'd be world peace and fuzzy puppies for everyone. And then we could eat them...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Scythian
have you noticed the lack of insects, we are here in the midwest, no grasshoppers, bees, nothing, there are no insects left ...

Here in Minnesota we have plenty of bugs. The grasshoppers and bees are usually more numerous later in the summer. But right now we got loads of mosquitoes.

41 posted on 07/12/2007 11:01:30 AM PDT by toast
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: null and void

“farm animals” are not allowed in residential areas, per a COUNTY ORDINANCE. There is a current controversy going on here over a guy who has a pet chicken........


42 posted on 07/12/2007 11:02:58 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Lucky
Why is that?

Given the optimal ethanol yield from corn on a per acre basis, we'd need over 400 million acres of corn to displace gasoline as a motor vehicle fuel. That constitutes over 4 times the corn acres we have planted now, and that's not considering we also use lots of corn for feed and for other foods.

Not sure what the yield per acre of this stuff is, but if it's high enough, it might be feasible.
43 posted on 07/12/2007 11:04:59 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Keep your friends close; keep your enemies at optimal engagement range)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

You must not know how ungodly hot and humid central Illinois summers can be. :)


44 posted on 07/12/2007 11:19:57 AM PDT by eraser2005
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: JamesP81
The US imports the oil to refine about 87 billion gallons of gasoline per year. 400 million acres of corn would produce 179 billion gallons of ethanol.

Anything which lessons US dependence upon oil from third world hellholes, is worth a look.

45 posted on 07/12/2007 11:24:04 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Lucky
The US imports the oil to refine about 87 billion gallons of gasoline per year. 400 million acres of corn would produce 179 billion gallons of ethanol.

US gasoline consumption last year was around 145 billion gallons. You'd need 1.4 times that many gallons of ethanol to equal the same energy output, giving you about 210 billion gallons of ethanol. Optimal ethanol production is 500 gallons per acre under ideal conditions. That gives you a need of over 400 million acres for fuel. That's over 4 times our corn acreage this year, and this year American farmers have planted more acres of corn than they have since 1944.
46 posted on 07/12/2007 11:29:39 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Keep your friends close; keep your enemies at optimal engagement range)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: eraser2005

This is Florida. We have 95-95-95 weather. 95°F-95%humidity-95% chance of rain.....


47 posted on 07/12/2007 11:34:48 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

From the looks of that picture, I’ll bet Dr. Harton has the same effect on men.


48 posted on 07/12/2007 11:42:14 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JamesP81
I'm not sure why you think the US should supplant its own oil production with bio-fuels; imports from the third world appear to be the problem.

While a gallon of ethanol generates maybe 40% less heat than a gallon of gasoline, that doesn't directly correlate into 40% less mileage. Ethanol can burn more efficiently than gasoline, generating more power, making up much of the difference.

In my Silverdao 1/2 ton pickup, the mileage drop from 87 octane gasoline to 105 octane E-85 is about 15%.

49 posted on 07/12/2007 11:45:52 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Scythian
...in the midwest, no grasshoppers, bees, nothing, there are no insects left ...

They've obviously all moved here, to my house.........

50 posted on 07/12/2007 11:49:42 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-58 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson