Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Monday, November 14, 2011

Switchgrass ethanol research looks to yield big benefits

High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal
By Larry Dreiling

Construction has begun in Hugoton, Kan., on the nation's first commercial scale biomass fuel refinery.

Abengoa Bioenergy's new, 23 million-gallon annual throughput refinery will take biomass, mainly switchgrass, and turn it into ethanol.

One problem in seeing more of these kinds of facilities sprout up across the U.S. is finding enough quality raw materiel to make what's been called the fuel of the future, cellulosic ethanol.

"All the switchgrass varieties you see right now in the field are basically for forage. We're now working on varieties specifically for ethanol production," said Ken Vogel, supervisory research geneticist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Grain, Forage and Bioenergy Research Unit in Lincoln, Neb.

Read more