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+ - Can wild grass produce clean fuel?

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "As many other countries, the U.S. want to reduce their dependency on oil by increasing the production of renewable and alternative fuels. Today, the main source of biofuel is ethanol distilled from kernels of corn, with a production of 5 billion gallons a year. As current targets for biofuels have been pushed to 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 and 35 in 2017, using corn ethanol alone would require to convert the combined size of Kansas and Iowa into farmland. But researchers have studied other solutions. And the best one could be to use cellulosic ethanol as the fuel of the future. The main advantage of using a wild grass named miscanthus is that you can produce ethanol from the whole plant body as opposed to corn where you can only use the grains. The other one is that you would need to grow this plant only on an area of the size of Massachusetts — an area 18 times smaller. But will farmers follow this advice? Time will tell. In the mean time, read more for additional details and a chart comparing the respective profits you could expect from the utilization of corn, switchgrass and miscanthus to produce ethanol."

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