Cellulosic ethanol can be created from crop waste, or from dense crops that grow in poor soil and don’t compete with other food crops. Two potential crops that would do well in Missouri, the study’s author, Martin Cohen says, include the bamboo-like mescanthus, and switchgrass. He says such plants can also be dried out and burned with coal to reduce coal energy in our state.
The report also identifies viable alternative energy productionmodels for Missouri for wind, solar, and bio-gas.
Bio-gas, Cohen says, uses animal waste — and the methane from it — to produce electricity and heat. He says many high-volume dairy and hog farms in Missouri would create enough animal waste to produce such energy.
The study is in response tocap-and-trade legislation, which has passed the U.S. House but is stalling inthe Senate.
Cohen says $18 billion is spent nationwide on fossil fuel each year, which equates to about $3,000 per Missourian. "Almost all of that goes out of state," he says, "almost none stays inMissouri."
"That’s the point of this report," he says. "If a small fraction wasdedicated to local renewables, it would benefit our state. We have a little bitof high-sulfur coal which is not very usable … this report is really trying to identify whatour potential is."
View the NRDC’s interactive map to see where alternative energy potential — as well as existing projects — are, in Missouri and throughout the United States. The full report is also on the Web site.