Environmental Sciences Department Seminar

"Growing Giant Grass: Why Bigger is Better for Energy Crops"

Presented by Emily Heaton, Dept. of Agronomy, Iowa State University

Friday, April 16, 2010, 1:00 pm — John Dunn Seminar Room, Bldg. 463

Among renewable energy sources, only biomass can provide fuel and electricity in a form and scale that is compatible with existing transportation and power generation infrastructure. Unlike wind and solar energy, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuel by a variety of conversion routes, as is current practice with petroleum, or it can be stored to generate electricity on-demand, as is current practice with coal. Further, lignocellulosic biomass can be produced in such a way as to balance the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental sustainability. This presentation will discuss a portfolio of high-yielding biomass crops including Miscanthus spp., switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) and other grasses that, if managed appropriately, can be integrated into the US agricultural system with little impact on food production in many regions. Importantly, the technology for implementing biomass energy from these crops exists today.

Hosted by: Dr. Alistair Rogers

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