Biofuels have had bad press in recent years. There are primarily two distinct issues. The biofuel crops with the best yields (such as sugarcane or oil palm) grow in tropical countries where habitat destruction has occurred in association with the biofuel system. First generation indigenous energy crops commonly used for transport fuel in Europe (such as rapeseed and wheat) have low yields and/or the energy balance of the associated biofuel system is poor. This paper shows that grass is a crop with significant yields and grass biomethane (a gaseous renewable transport biofuel) has a very good energy balance and does not involve habitat destruction, land use change, new farming practices or annual tilling. The gross and net energy production per hectare are almost identical to palm oil biodiesel; the net energy of the grass system is at least 50% better than the next best indigenous European biofuel system investigated. Ten percent of Irish grasslands could fuel over 55% of the Irish private car fleet.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Smyth, B. M., Murphy, J. D., & O'Brien, C. M. (2009). What is the energy balance of grass biomethane in Ireland and other temperate northern European climates? Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13(9), 2349-2360. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2009.04.003