Agave is a Promising Fuel Feedstock

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An agave plantation in Africa
"Scientists found that in 14 independent studies, the yields of two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, soybean, sorghum, and wheat," says Science Daily. "Agave is a unique feedstock because of its high water use efficiency and ability to survive without water between rainfalls."

"Also, abandoned Agave plantations in Mexico and Africa that previously supported the natural fiber market could be reclaimed as bioenergy cropland...Agave is not only an exciting new bioenergy crop, but its economically and environmentally sustainable production could prove to successfully stimulate economies in Africa, Australia, and Mexico..." Or the American Southwest?

"Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land," said Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford, in an article in guardian.co.uk.

A new study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science found that "agave-derived ethanol could produce good yields on hot, dry land and with relatively little environmental impact. The agave plant, large rosettes of fleshy leaves, produces high levels of sugar and the scientists modeled a hypothetical facility in the tequila state of Jalisco in Mexico which converts the sugars to alcohol for use as a fuel," writes Damian Carrington in The Guardian.

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