Thursday, February 07, 2008

Biofuel Crops Double As Greenhouse-Gas Reducers

ScienceDaily (Jun. 29, 2007) — Corn and soybeans may be the current "go-to" crops for producing ethanol and biodiesel, respectively. But two other crops—switchgrass and hybrid poplar—could steal the show in the future when it comes to curbing greenhouse gases, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and collaborating scientists.
In a study published in the April issue of Ecological Applications, ARS scientist Paul Adler and colleagues compared the net production of carbon dioxide and two other greenhouse gases associated with producing biofuels from several different bioenergy crops.
In short, it takes energy to produce energy, notes Adler, who's in the ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, Pa. For example, operating a tractor to plow, plant, fertilize and harvest all require gasoline or diesel fuel. This, in turn, releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases tied to global climate change.

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