By: Rubina Obaid
Growing concern with fossil fuel emission worldwide, policymakers are responding actively through the constituencies by subsidizing and mandating shift towards renewable energy sources. Therefore, the amount of electricity is being produced through biomass is drastically increasing. Generally, waste products such as crop residues and animal wastes, which have fewer other economic alternatives are used for biomass and viable energy generation. Biomass fuel through grass could slow down the global warming process A study was conducted and published recently in Environment Science and Technology at Ben Gurion University (BGU), Israel and Michigan State University, USA examined various cellulosic biofuel crops. To identify their potential as an alternative for petroleum as ethanol fuel and electric light duty vehicles such as small trucks and passenger cars to avail multitude of environment and economic benefits by utilizing grass to energy technology.
A technology of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) that can absorb up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide, which is emitted while industrial process and energy generation, to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. To mitigate carbon from the atmosphere and bringing carbon into negative mode, carbon capture and storage through renewable biomass energy sources is one of the fewer carbon diminution technologies. The research evaluated bio energy feed stock for the very first time, grown seven crops simultaneously that include switchgrass, poplar trees, giant miscanthus, maize residuals, restored native prairie and various combination of grasses and multiple vegetables.
Dr Ilya Gelfand of BGU French Associates institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands said that All the tested crops were found as having great significance in mitigating capability, even though having been grown in a different types of soil and diverse natural climate variability. Biomass fuel through grass could slow down global warming process. According to Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research it has been identified that these crops could provide significant portion of decarbonization of US light duty vehicle to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and curtailing the process of global warming. He further emphasized that carbonization of transportation is imperative to have control over rising temperature.
Comparing the petroleum only emission it has been found out that ethanol with bioenergy was 78 to 290 percent in diminishing carbon emissions, while ethanol was improved by 204 to 416 percent. Whereas biomass powered electric vehicles were 74 to 303 percent cleaner and biomass powered electric vehicle paired with CSS was 329 to 558 percent superior, added by the research team. The research and investigation was conducted at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station and the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Research Station, the part of the US Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The team added that the crop that was grown at MSU showed similar productivity as the crop grown in other more fertile Wisconsin land.
This research revealed an important aspect that these crop are likely to be produced on marginal lands and still get high productivity, said Professor Phil Robertson of MSU “Long term field experiments that include extreme weather conditions such as drought and considering actual greenhouse emissions instead of estimated, are really crucial for stress testing assumptions and models. For next phase of research, the team aim to assess other environmental and economic aspects of bioenergy crops. In order to have best bio fuels, crops need to be economically attractive to the farmers without adding nitrogen or pesticides. Hence local agriculture market can greatly contribute in supporting economy’s increasing energy needs.