Monday, August 04, 2008

Bioenergy Bites

What do you get when you cross elephant grass with sugar cane? Something called Tjiong grass, which contains over 71% carbohydrate, mostly simple sugars--ideal for fermenting into ethanol. The grass is estimated to produce almost 3,000 gallons of ethanol per acre every year (2 harvests). H/T BiofuelsDigest

Hundreds of millions of hectares of good farmland has been abandoned in Russia over the past 20 years, due to mismanagement and poor agricultural practises. Russia intends to produce biomass on that land equivalent to over 7 million barrels per day of oil production.

The Brazilian diesel tree is being cloned in an attempt to move its diesel-producing genes into other, hardier plants. The diesel tree only grows in tropical environments, and is a bit fastidious in its requirements. Researchers hope they can give hardier plants the ability to produce the same diesel equivalent, across a broad array of croplands and growing conditions.

Caribbean nations are beginning to examine their prospects for cashing in in the growing biofuels boom. The high price of oil takes a heavy toll on island nations which have to ship in all of their fuel--both for transportation and for generating electricity. Alternative fuels are desperately needed, and tropical islands are particularly well suited for a number of bioenergy crops--including sugar cane, palm, jatropha, coconut, moringa, pongamia, and diesel tree, among others.



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