Skip to Main Content

The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: High-value renewable energy from prairie grasses
Year: 2002
Author(s): McLaughlin, S. B., De La Torre Ugarte, D. G., Garten, C. T., Lynd, L. R., Sanderson, M. A., Tolberts, V. R., Wolf, D. D.
Source Title: Environmental Science & Technology
Source Type: Journal
pages: 2122-2129
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Projected economic benefits of renewable energy derived from a native prairie grass, switchgrass, include nonmarket values that can reduce net fuel costs to near zero. At a farm gate price of $44.00/dry Mg, an agricultural sector model predicts higher profits for switchgrass than conventional crops on 16,9 million hectares (ha). Benefits would include an annual increase of $6 billion in net farm returns, a $1.86 billion reduction in government subsidies, and displacement of 44159 Tg/year (1 Tg = 10(12) g) of greenhouse gas emissions. Incorporating these values into the pricing structure for switchgrass bioenergy could accelerate commercialization and provide net benefits to the U.S. economy.