Genera Energy Joins Freeway-to-fuels Movement with Test Plots for Switchgrass Along Highways

In Tennessee, Genera Energy has planted several plots of switchgrass along interstate corridors in Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). The test plots are designed to see if switchgrass can help reduce maintenance costs by reducing the need for mowing and may also have the added benefit of producing biomass for energy and reducing erosion at highway interchanges.

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Making Biofuel from Corncobs and Switchgrass in Rural America

"Energy crops and agricultural residue, like corncobs and stover, are becoming part of rural America’s energy future. Unlike the more common biofuel derived from corn, these are non-food/feed based cellulosic feedstocks, and the energy content of the biomass makes it ideal for converting to sustainable fuel.

Last January in Vonore, Tenn., DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE) opened a new biorefinery with the goal of producing at large-scale biofuel from cellulosic feedstock, beginning with corncobs and stover and moving to switchgrass.

DDCE, along with partners University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, Genera Energy and the state of Tennessee are working to establish a several-thousand-acre switchgrass crop for the biorefinery."

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Growing Switchgrass as a Biofuel

"The University of Tennessee (UT) has published a how-to guide on growing switchgrass for ethanol fuel in an effort to educate growers and consumers.

The four-page extension fact sheet, (SP701-A) is called Growing And Harvesting Switchgrass For Ethanol Production In Tennessee.

It is part of a state-sponsored UT Biofuels Initiative, according to Delta Farm Press. The initiative aims to construct and operate a 5-million-gallon/year cellulosic ethanol facility in East Tennessee that will rely on a constant supply of plant material to produce ethanol. Scientists at UT say switchgrass, a warm-season grass native to Tennessee, will be the primary feedstock for the facility."

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