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Grass could top corn as biofuel crop

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Champaign, Ill. (UPI) Nov 1, 2010
Grass could be the bioenergy crop of the future as the demand for biofuels increases, replacing corn as the premiere biofuel crop, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed the first analysis of potential bioenergy grass crops in the Midwestern United States, a university release said Monday.

Corn ethanol is currently the main biofuel available but the demand for ethanol competes with corn's availability as food and that could drive up food costs, researchers say.

The U.S. government has mandated that 20 billion gallons of biofuels must be produced annually from non-corn biomass by 2022.

Large grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus, could provide the biomass necessary, with higher ethanol volumes per acre and lower water requirements than corn, scientists say.

Switchgrass is large prairie grass native to the Midwest. In Europe, miscanthus, a sterile hybrid, is already widely cultivated as a biofuel crop.

"It's a better way to achieve our goals of energy security and climate change mitigation," Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the university, says. "These two particular crops are among the more promising nonfood crops currently available for large-scale production."




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BIO FUEL
Boeing Statement Regarding USDA-FAA Partnership On Aviation Biofuels
Chicago IL (SPX) Oct 26, 2010
Boeing Vice President, Environment and Aviation Policy, Billy M Glover, issued the following statement in the wake of an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Aviation Administration that the two agencies have agreed to work together to bring sustainable biofuels into production for the aviation industry. "Today's announcement is welcome news for the commercial ... read more

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