The fast growing plant switchgrass has been heralded as the next generation of biofuel stock. Unlike fertilizer-dependent corn, researchers say it’s highly efficient to grow the grass and process it into ethanol. But a new study suggests that there’s an even better use for switchgrass and other plants. Rather than turning them into ethanol to fill the gas tanks of cars, plants should be burned in power plants to generate “bioelectricity,” which can power electric cars. […] A bioelectric future for transportation would require a wide-spread adoption of electric cars, which are still very far from the automobile showrooms. But Campbell says that this is the perfect moment to make decisions about how to keep people moving in the 21st century, before all the ethanol plants and pipelines are built.
Biomass, even though it releases CO2 when burned, overall produces less carbon dioxide than do fossil fuels because plants grown to replenish the resource are assumed to reabsorb those emissions. Capture those combustion emissions instead and sequester them underground, and it would “result in a carbon-negative energy source that removes CO2 from the atmosphere”.