Bush Creates Buzz Over Switchgrass
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One year into his second term, President Bush took a moment away from worries of wars overseas to talk about the environment and introduced a word that had Americans gabbing - and giggling - for months: switchgrass.
"We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of reducing ethanol, not just from corn but wood chips and stalks, or switchgrass," Bush said during the 2006 speech.
Iowa State University describes the plant as "a perennial grass native to the tallgrass prairies once found across much of the U.S."
The word had folks at home rushing to dust off their agriculture encyclopedias (or so we imagine), but the president continued to use it in speeches to come. He hoped to make fuel made from switchgrass less expensive than gas by 2012.
In early 2007, investors were pouring millions of dollars into that enterprise. As of 2013, the goal is still out of reach and the word seems to have fallen back into obscurity.
But behind the scenes, switchgrass has still played a role in American energy. A 2012 report from the Department of Enegry said more than a dozen research groups were exploring its potential. They hoped to have a commercial switch grass hybrid for sale by 2020.