High-value renewable energy from prairie grasses

S. B. McLaughlin, D. G. De La Torre Ugarte, C. T. Garten, L. R. Lynd, M. A. Sanderson, V. R. Tolbert, D. D. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

243 Scopus citations


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2122-2129
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


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