JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Switchgrass can grow 5 to 6 feet tall, and it’s being studied as an alternative fuel source.
UNF Professor Dr. Mike Aspinwall studied the grass for close to 10 years.
“What I’m doing is to understand how it grows and why it grows in different circumstances,” Aspinwall said.
The USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture awarded Aspinwall a close to $500 million grant to study the grass.
There is even some growing on a rooftop at UNF, 150 plants currently being studied. The grant-funded research will begin in the spring of 2020.
Aspinwall believes what makes switchgrass a leading candidate for a renewable resource is that once it’s cut down, it grows back, unlike corn, which is used for ethanol now. Corn requires much more maintenance, which means more money to produce it.
The grass is not only easy to find, but easy to grow.
“The public is certainly more interested in renewable energy sources, and switchgrass is one of the best candidates for that in the U.S.,” Aspinwall said.
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