Duckweed: 6 Times More Starch Than Maize
A tiny aquatic plant named "duckweed" can produce more than 6 tames the starch per acre as maize! That should shift the economics of bio-ethanol just a tad.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a tiny aquatic plant can be used to clean up animal waste at industrial hog farms and potentially be part of the answer for the global energy crisis. Their research shows that growing duckweed on hog wastewater can produce five to six times more starch per acre than corn, according to researcher Dr. Jay Cheng. This means that ethanol production using duckweed could be "faster and cheaper than from corn," says fellow researcher Dr. Anne-Marie Stomp.And honestly, the pigs don't mind at all! In the quest for bioenergy, there is no more patriotic animal than the pig.
"We can kill two birds - biofuel production and wastewater treatment - with one stone - duckweed," Cheng says. Starch from duckweed can be readily converted into ethanol using the same facilities currently used for corn, Cheng adds. _PO