The right cellulosic biofuels might help protect the environment

Biofuels from cellulosic feedstock could help to protect the environment by reducing the amount of nitrogen that runs off into rivers and by providing coverage that helps protect the land against wind and rain erosion.

That is one of the central assertions in a guest article by Richard Cruse and Hillary Olson in the Des Moines Register today. Parennial grasses could be helpful in areas that are marginal for corn production such as sloping land and land on the margins of water courses.

This looks very sensible to me. One of my concerns with cellulosic ethanol production is that because there will be less cellulose to go back into the soil, to help with structure and water retention, there could be a decrease in soil quality. Using parennial grasses in marginal areas might even help biodiversity.

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