Converting Switchgrass To Biofuel Essay

1885 words - 8 pages

Introduction:

People need energy, it’s a fact. We need it for our cars, for our televisions and for our iPods. We need it all the time, every day. The simple fact is though, we are running out. Carbon based fuels are being used at an alarming rate every day. And every day our demand increases as our society becomes more and more reliant on technology.

There is only so much oil in the world though and when that is gone we need to look for alternative sources of energy. Sources like ethanol produced from Switchgrass.

In 2004 an article was published on the creation of ethanol from gases made from switchgrass. The article was titled, “Fermentation of Biomass-Generated Producer Gas to Ethanol.”

This article held produced several interesting results. First it demonstrated that producer gas could be generated from biomass (Switchgrass) and that the producer gas could be fermented to produce ethanol. Second the cells stopped growing but did not die. During this period of non-growth ethanol was produced. Third H2 utilization ceased and fourth “cells began growing again if ‘clean’ bottled gases were introduced following exposure to the producer gas” (Datar, Shenkman, Cateni, Huhnke and Lewis 2004, p. 1.)

Switchgrass

– Panicum virgatum

Why switchgrass? Thats the question of the hour. And to tell there truth there are a lot of reasons. Firstly and foremost is the fact that there are millions of dollars in government funding available. Secondly switchgrass is grown across the entire center of the united states in a variety of environments.

Switchgrass is hardy and adaptable, it grows large and fast, sometime reaching slightly over ten feet in height. As a bonus switchgrass also processes water very efficiently, which is always a good thing where farmers are concerned.

It has numerous other advantages also. It is already used by many farmers to prevent soil erosion and to help their fallow fields replenish the nutrients in their soil, becuase of its root deep root system that adds organic matter to the soil.

Its last too advantages are that it's net energy output is about 20 times better then corns. And that it produces almost 5 times the amount of energy it takes to grow the plant.

The P7 Cell:

Bacteria are one of the three domains that classify all biological things. Both Bacteria and Archaea are the two domains that fall into one category called prokaryotes because of their similar cell structure. Bacterial cells are usually tinier than animal or plant cells. The average size is between .25 and 4 μm.

Bacteria are rarely seen as individual cells. Most are detected in chains and small clusters. The cellular structures of bacteria are almost universal for all types. The genetic material of bacteria is DNA. Unlike plant, animal and other cells bacterial cells do not have a nucleus that encloses the DNA. They do have a cytoplasm which is the fluid inside of every cell and also ribosome which are the centers...

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