Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Michigan State University (MSU) have determined that biomass fuels stemming from various grasses can "significantly mitigate" the effects of global warming by reducing carbon emissions.The study was carried out and completed at Michigan State University’s (MSU) Kellogg Biological Station and the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Research Station, which is an extension of the US Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The paper, published in Environmental Science and Technology, examined a plethora of different cellulosic biofuel crops – including switchgrass, giant miscanthus, poplar trees, maize residuals, restored native prairie, and a combination of grasses and vegetation that grow spontaneously following field abandonment – to test against their hypothesis.“Every crop we tested had a very significant mitigation capacity despite being grown on very different soils and under natural climate variability,” says Dr. Ilya Gelfand, of the BGU French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. “These crops could provide a very significant portion of the decarbonization of US light-duty vehicle transport to curb CO² emissions and slow global warming. Decarbonization of transportation is critical to limit rising temperatures.” Researchers determined that compared to solely petroleum-based emission systems, ethanol with bioenergy resources fared 78%-290% better in reducing carbon emissions, normal ethanol solutions were improved by 204%-416% and biomass powered electric vehicles were found to be 74%-303% cleaner. Biomass-powered electric vehicles combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) were clearly the best option, garnering a 329-558% improvement. "Climate change mitigation scenarios limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C rely on decarbonizing vehicle fuel with bioenergy production together with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)," BGU said in a statement. "Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology that can capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO²) emitted during electricity generation and industrial processes, which prevents atmospheric increase of CO² concentration. Using both CCS and renewable biomass is one of the few carbon abatement technologies resulting in a 'carbon-negative' mode – actually removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."Researchers noted that the crops grown in Michigan did just as well as the crops grown in Wisconsin, despite the different climate conditions and the fact that the Wisconsin site is a more fertile location for agricultural endeavors.“This is significant because it means that we’re likely to be able to produce these crops on marginal lands and still get high productivity,” says Prof. Phil Robertson of MSU, senior author of the study. “Long-term field experiments that include weather extremes such as drought, and actual rather than estimated greenhouse gas emissions, are crucial for stress-testing models assumptions.” In the next phase of the study, researchers will assess how to make these biofuel products economically attractive to farmers, who will be the ones eventually cultivating these crops for widespread use.