Amid all sorts of defiance to biofuel production practices by the staunch enviro-thinkers worldwide, the researches are doing well to pacify their doubts regarding the land use and energy conversion ratio. Earlier, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers in a separate study discovered that ethanol derived from switch grass brings carbon emissions down by about 94 percent when compared to gasoline. Taking it a step further, a group of researchers headed by ecologist Christine Hawkes at the University of Texas is working to uncover switch grass species best suited for biofuel production.
After receiving a grant worth $4.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UT hopes to utilize the funding in conducting genetic studies on the switch grass varieties. Christine is examining the perennial grass grown atop the Welch Hall. Later, some of it will be relocated to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for virtual rain exposure.