High-value renewable energy from prairie grasses

Environ Sci Technol. 2002 May 15;36(10):2122-9. doi: 10.1021/es010963d.


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 44-159 Tg/year (1 Tg = 1012 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bioelectric Energy Sources* / economics
  • Commerce
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Poaceae*
  • United States