Switchgrass -practical issues in developing a fuel crop.
Shastri, Y. N., Hansen, A. C., Rodriguez, L. F., Ting, K. C.
[History] Received: 2 February 2012; Accepted: 21 May 2012
CAB Reviews, 2012, 7, 037, 1-14
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The biomass-based energy sector will play an important role in our drive towards renewable energy. Switchgrass has been identified as one of the candidate-dedicated energy crops in the USA because of its various desirable traits. However, many challenges still exist in ensuring a commercially viable switchgrass crop that is sustainable and techno-economically feasible. This article reviews the existing literature to highlight those challenges and potential solutions and recommendations to address those in the future. Various stages in the switchgrass-based biofuel system, namely crop production, provision and logistics, and conversion, are analysed. For each of these stages, the important challenges as reported in the literature are mentioned, and research gaps are identified. The systems-level issues as well as the challenges associated with the practical implementation of switchgrass production are also highlighted. The review illustrates that although switchgrass is a viable biofuel feedstock, considerable progress is necessary to achieve large-scale practical success.