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Sustainable use of switchgrass for biofuel

Code: 9781786766304
John Fike, Virginia Tech, USA; Vance Owens, South Dakota State University, USA; David Parrish, Virginia Tech, USA; and Rana Genedy, Cairo, Egypt

Chapter synopsis: Switchgrass, a productive, perennial warm-season grass, native to much of North America, has much potential as a sustainable biofuel crop. The species is productive, has capacity to sequester carbon, and it offers supporting services such as filtering water and provisioning of wildlife habitat. Competition with existing agronomic cropping systems and other energy crops may render switchgrass most competitive in the Southeast and parts of the Great Plains. Current challenges with supply logistics and feedstock conversion systems continue to slow the biofuel industry's expansion. Agronomic management will be important for optimizing switchgrass systems to achieve high productivity with limited inputs, and this will have implications for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. Slow progress on conversion, focus on liquid fuels, competing entrenched interests, and limited carbon accounting across all fuel sources are factors that have affected adoption for biomass-based energy systems.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2019.0027.16
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Switchgrass and environmental sustainability metrics 3 Challenges in becoming a primary feedstock resource 4 Switchgrass production and agronomics in the context of sustainability 5 Economic, policy and social issues 6 Case study 7 Conclusion 8 Future trends 9 Where to look for further information 10 References

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