Biofuel from Crop Residue

If commercially viable, this could be effectively used in Georgia to utilise cornstalks and wheat straw, and reduce reliance on imported fuel. It hopefully would divert grain and sugar feedstock from the worldwide ethanol  trade into the food chain for livestock and humans, badly needed as world population rises and consumption of high quality foods like meat and dairy increase.

Business Aussie brothers make biofuel breakthrough - Weekly Times Now

AAP | November 1, 2012

A TECHNOLOGY breakthrough by two Australian brothers could offer a solution to the world’s insatiable appetite for food and fuel.

Phillip and Geoff Bell have developed a new way to produce ethanol from waste products such as sugar cane, instead of using food crops such as corn.

Not only that, but the leftover yeast used in making the environmentally friendly fuel is then turned into high-quality animal feed.

The Australian researchers created a buzz today when they revealed their findings at the AusBiotech Conference in Melbourne, the largest biotechnology industry gathering in the Asia-Pacific.

AusBiotech chief executive Anna Lavelle said their discovery was of “global significance” as it tackled two of the world’s biggest issues – future fuel and food supply – in one fell swoop.

“To have the one technology successfully addressing both of these issues simultaneously is very impressive to see,” Dr Lavelle said.

“This technology deserves to be fully exploited.”

Despite being a source of clean renewable energy, ethanol production is costly and requires huge areas of farmland to grow the food crops needed as biomass.

Dr Lavelle said Australia, unlike the US, had never grown food for fuel and was not likely to begin any time soon.

But Geoff Bell said that was what made this technology so unique.

“We don’t take away from the fuel supply, we add to it,” he told AAP.

Their specially evolved yeast turns useless corn husks and sugar cane into fuel before producing an animal feed that offers more nutrition than soy.

Selling the feed can then offset the cost of producing the ethanol, resulting in a win-win for investors.

Mr Bell says Australia, with its vast wetland areas to the north and unprofitable sugar cane farms, is ideally positioned to take advantage of this technology.

“If you apply our technology to these areas, you’re looking at tripling the value per hectare of products from the land,” he said.

The brothers’ company, Microbiogen, financed their research with a $2.5 million grant from the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency and funding from the Department of Energy in the US.

via Business Aussie brothers make biofuel breakthrough – Weekly Times Now.

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