Would you feel differently if Liberty’s
bio-source were different? Here’s a different slant.
A new study led by David Tilman, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota,
shows that mixtures of native perennial grasses and other flowering plants
provide more usable energy per acre than corn grain ethanol or soybean
biodiesel and are far better for the environment. The research was supported by
the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Minnesota
Initiative for Renewable Energy and the
"Biofuels made from high-diversity mixtures of prairie plants can reduce
global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Even when grown
on infertile soils, they can provide a substantial portion of global energy
needs, and leave fertile land for food production," Tilman said.
The findings are published in the Dec. 8, 2006, issue of the journal Science.
The is study based on 10 years of research at Minnesota's Cedar Creek Natural
History Area, one of 26 NSF long-term ecological research (LTER) sites. It
shows that degraded agricultural land planted with diverse mixtures of prairie
grasses and other flowering plants produces 238 percent more bioenergy on
average than the same land planted with various single prairie plant species,
"This study highlights very clearly the additional benefits of taking a
less-intensive management approach and maintaining higher biodiversity in the
process," said Henry Gholz, NSF LTER program director. "It
establishes a new baseline for evaluating the use of land for biofuel
Tilman and his colleagues estimate that fuel made from this prairie biomass
would yield 51 percent more energy per acre than ethanol from corn grown on
fertile land. Prairie plants require little energy to grow and all parts of the
plant above ground are usable.
Fuels made from prairie biomass are "carbon negative," which means
that producing and using them actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (a
greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. Prairie plants store more carbon in their
roots and soil than is released by the fossil fuels needed to grow and convert
them into biofuels. Using prairie biomass to make fuel would lead to the
long-term removal and storage of from 1.2 to 1.8 U.S. tons of carbon dioxide per
acre per year. This net removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide could continue
for about 100 years, the researchers estimate.
In contrast, corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel are "carbon
positive," meaning they add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, although
less than fossil fuels.
Switchgrass, which is being developed as a perennial bioenergy crop, was one of
16 species in the study. When grown by itself in poor soil, it did not perform
better than other single species and gave less than a third of the bioenergy of
"Switchgrass is very productive when it's grown like corn in fertile soil
with lots of fertilizer, pesticide and energy inputs, but this approach doesn't
yield as much energy gain as mixed species in poor soil nor does it have the
same environmental benefits," said paper co-author Jason Hill, also of the
University of Minnesota.
To date, all biofuels, including cutting-edge nonfood energy crops such as
switchgrass, elephant grass, hybrid poplar and hybrid willow, are produced as
monocultures grown primarily in fertile soils.
The researchers estimate that growing mixed prairie grasses on all of the
world's degraded land could produce enough bioenergy to replace 13 percent of
global petroleum consumption and 19 percent of global electricity consumption.
The practice of using degraded land to grow mixed prairie grasses for biofuels
could provide stable production of energy and have additional benefits, such as
renewed soil fertility, cleaner ground and surface waters, preservation of
wildlife habitats, and recreational opportunities.
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Timothy Caldwell
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007
To: Alex J. Sagady &
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Liberty
Rewewable Fuels is undercapitolized
This is excellent news. Let's hope they continue to be
On Dec 2, 2007 2:46 PM, Alex J. Sagady &
Associates < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" < email@example.com>
The Gratiot County Herald is reporting "Liberty ethanol plant faces
crisis" In its November 29 edition. This is the corn to
ethanol facility proposed for Ithaca,
It seems they've started construction of their plant, but have only
$33 million out of $233 million needed to build the plant.
There has been a continual stream of articles in the financial press
about the present glut of ethanol, problems in getting product to
market and money drying up to construct ethanol plants.
According to the article, work on the Ithaca
plant is now at a
The facility also went through a re-permiting for the air permit for
the facility, changing the type of process equipment they would
Alex J. Sagady & Associates http://www.sagady.com
Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at: http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf
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