Oklahoma to plant 1,000-acre switchgrass field for ethanol production
The Oklahoma Bioenergy Center (OBC) has acquired 1,000 acres to grow switchgrass that will be used for cellulosic ethanol production. The program aims to address concerns that use of other crops, primarily corn, to produce ethanol may lead to a rise in food prices.
Switchgrass has a higher energy output than corn and is not used as a food for humans or animals, according to the OBC. OBC’s switchgrass field will be the first of its size dedicated to biomass production. “Rising food costs recently resulted in a pushback against renewable fuels,” Oklahoma Secretary of Energy David Fleischaker said in a statement. “This dedicated land will allow us to demonstrate the advantages of switchgrass [in ethanol production.]”
OBC will also plant sorghum, another non-food crop, for biofuel production. More information on the program is available at www.okbioenergycenter.org.