A Lesson in Biofuels from Tennessee

In 2007, to great fanfare and amid ever-greater expectations, a large-scale demonstration project was initiated to turn switchgrass into biofuel. For an investment of $70 million, the taxpayers of the state of Tennessee were promised a lucrative new industry that would benefit farmers and create thousands of other "green jobs." The project, which was expected to produce five million gallons of biofuel from switchgrass within two years, would soon be fiscally self-sustaining and afford a "significant return" on investment. As the largest switchgrass demonstration project in the country, it was to have been the foundation for a whole new industry. Sounds great, and it is just what the Tennessee legislature approved in 2007. When it began, "the University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative," as it is called, excited favorable comments in newspapers and media across the country. Finally, there would be a practical alternative to those nasty fossil fuels, and...(Read Full Article)