e85 Ethanol from Switchgrass

It seems that Switchgrass might be a much better idea then corn for the production of e85 ethanol. Right now, the technology is in its infancy since researchers are still hammering out the details.

In bio-refineries, switchgrass can be reduced into simple sugars including glucose and xylose. These sugars can then be fermented into ethanol in a similar fashion to corn. The primary sources for ethanol production in the United States are grain from corn and other annual cereal grains, such as sorghum. While switchgrass ethanol is chemically identical to ethanol made from corn, soybeans or sorghum, cellulose ethanol shows a net energy content three times greater than grain ethanol and emits a low net level of greenhouse gases.

switchgrass for e85 ethanol production

With growing concerns of national food prices, switchgrass may help curb the worrying. Switchgrass has an incredible benefit to be used in ethanol production since it is not used by the population for food. According to data received on farm studies, researches from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Switchgrass that was produced for biofuel production made 540 percent greater energy than it needed to grow, then harvest and finally produce ethanol.

Perhaps farmers can now begin to grow corn again strictly for food production instead of ethanol. If farmers decide that, it may be able to get the price of corn per bushel back to reasonable levels seen only a couple of years ago. This will also help many other markets that use similar grains for feeding livestock.

The only thing that holds switchgrass back is research in cellulosic ethanol. If Ethanol made from cellulose, it will emit 80 percent less global warming pollutions than gasoline. Currently cellulosic ethanol is still in research phase and it may take a few years before a major change is made in the Ethanol Industry.