Friday, August 08, 2008

Agaves: more ethanol with less water

Here is yet another ethanol feedstock that seems to hold great promise without the need for cellulosic ethanol technology (though it does yield large amounts of cellulose in addition to simple sugars). According to the linked article, Agave could produce much more ethanol per acre per year than corn or sugarcane, with additional coproducts available as well. All this while using much less water and growing on soils poorly suited for corn or sugarcane crops or other food crops. Agave is mainly grown in very dry regions of Mexico, but should be able to thrive in similar climatic zones of the southwest United States. This is a crop high in simple sugars, very easily and processed into ethanol fuel.
Mexico & Agaves: Moving from Tequila to Ethanol: "High in sugar content, the project team estimates that varieties of Agave tequilana weber can yield up to 2,000 gallons of distilled ethanol per acre per year and from 12,000-18,000 gallons per acre per year if their cellulose is included, some 14 dry tons of feedstock per acre every year."

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