Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for Biofuel Production

"Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native warm-season grass that is a leading biomass crop in the United States. More than 70 years of experience with switchgrass as a hay and forage crop suggest switchgrass will be productive and sustainable on rain-fed marginal land east of the 100th meridian."

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2015 Still On Pace as Hottest Year On Record

"The first five months of 2015 topped the warmest such period on record for the globe, according to a pair of recently released independent analyses from government scientists.

Global temperatures January-May 2015 exceeded 2010's as the warmest first five months of any year, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies."

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Danforth Center receives $8M for big data research program for bioenergy crop

"The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced today it was awarded an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E TERRA program. Funds will be used for research to accelerate breeding and the commercial release of economically viable bioenergy sorghum hybrids. Todd Mockler, Ph.D., Geraldine and Robert Virgil Distinguished Investigator at the Danforth Center is the principal investigator of this multi-institutional project."

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New Research: Suitable Days for Plant Growth Disappear under Projected Climate Change

Abstract
"Ongoing climate change can alter conditions for plant growth, in turn affecting ecological and social systems. While there have been considerable advances in understanding the physical aspects of climate change, comprehensive analyses integrating climate, biological, and social sciences are less common. Here we use climate projections under alternative mitigation scenarios to show how changes in environmental variables that limit plant growth could impact ecosystems and people. We show that although the global mean number of days above freezing will increase by up to 7% by 2100 under “business as usual” (representative concentration pathway [RCP] 8.5), suitable growing days will actually decrease globally by up to 11% when other climatic variables that limit plant growth are considered (i.e., temperature, water availability, and solar radiation). Areas in Russia, China, and Canada are projected to gain suitable plant growing days, but the rest of the world will experience losses. Notably, tropical areas could lose up to 200 suitable plant growing days per year. These changes will impact most of the world’s terrestrial ecosystems, potentially triggering climate feedbacks. Human populations will also be affected, with up to ~2,100 million of the poorest people in the world (~30% of the world’s population) highly vulnerable to changes in the supply of plant-related goods and services. These impacts will be spatially variable, indicating regions where adaptations will be necessary. Changes in suitable plant growing days are projected to be less severe under strong and moderate mitigation scenarios (i.e., RCP 2.6 and RCP 4.5), underscoring the importance of reducing emissions to avoid such disproportionate impacts on ecosystems and people."

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Biofuel Facts for the Road: The Energy Department and Your Gasoline Pump

"Going “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house” this holiday season could require a significant amount of gasoline if you’re traveling by car. Before you hit the road to visit relatives or friends, you’ll probably stop at the gas station to fuel up. The Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office invests in research and development to help commercialize biofuels—liquid fuels produced from plant sources—to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, build the economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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Renewables “Rock” U.S. Energy Growth

"The SUN Day Campaign’s Ken Bossong, has noted once again that renewable energy sources are dominating the new energy landscape according to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects. The reports shows wind and solar accounted for all new generating capacity placed in-service in April. For the month, two “units” of wind (the 300 MW Hereford-2 Wind Farm Project in Deaf Smith County, TX and the 211 MW Mesquite Creek Wind Project in Dawson County, TX) came on line in addition to six new units – totaling 50 MW – of solar."

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