Friday, October 3, 2008

New Sugarcanes to Deliver One-Two Energy Punch |

New Sugarcanes to Deliver One-Two Energy Punch | "New Sugarcanes to Deliver One-Two Energy Punch
Oct 2, 2008 - By Jan Suszkiw, USDA-ARS

New varieties of sugarcane and other crops adapted to the U.S. Gulf Coast region are being developed for use in making ethanol as a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, in cooperation with the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES) and the American Sugar Cane League, USA (ASCL), have already released three new varieties of 'energy sugarcane.' They're called that because of their high stalk contents of sugar and fiber, which could eventually serve as complementary ethanol feedstocks.

Raw-sugar processors now burn the fiber to generate heat that powers stalk-crushing and sugar-crystallization processes, notes Edward Richard, who leads the ARS Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, La. The extracted sucrose sugar is sold for consumption or converted into ethanol. However, Richard anticipates that biorefineries will use the fiber as well, once technologies for converting cellulose into ethanol become economically feasible."

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