Can wild grass produce clean fuel? February 20, 2007Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment, Technology.
» Can wild grass produce clean fuel? | Emerging Technology Trends | ZDNet.com
The body of a plant is composed of polysaccharides, such as cellulose, which can be converted to ethanol by fermentation. Using the entire plant body as a starting raw material will result in a higher yield of fermentable sugar per unit of land, Somerville said. The ideal plant for producing cellulosic ethanol, he added, is Miscanthus, a perennial grass native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and southern Asia, which is used as an ornamental plant in the United States.
And here are some more reasons to use miscanthus.
“It uses less water per gram of biomass produced than other plants,” he said. “For example, to make a pound of alfalfa or spinach requires about 600 pounds of water, while to grow a pound of Miscanthus requires only about 200 pounds of water.” According to Somerville, Miscanthus produces about twice as much biomass per acre without irrigation than other grasses, and reaching the president’s target of 35 billion gallons of biofuels annually would require putting far fewer acres of land into Miscanthus production.