MSU Study Discuss Ways to Maximize Cellulosic Biofuel Production

Cellulosic biofuels are known to be capable of providing environment-friendly energy sources. They are often considered in climate mitigation scenarios due to their potential to both displace petroleum use and lessen greenhouse gas. However, the amount of land needed to produce cellulosic biofuels has complicated their production.

Researchers have then asked if using land to grow biofuel crops would not threaten global food security, diminish biodiversity, or reduce water supplies. After years of research, Robertson and colleagues from other universities have identified a range of principles for managing the environmental issues of cellulosic biofuels.

Their study showed that growing native perennial species on land not used for food production due to low fertility, would avoid conflict with food security while providing feedstock for biofuels as well as biodiversity. The study also highlighted the importance of crop choice. Native perennial species offer superior environmental outcomes than annual crops. However, no single crop is ideal for all locations, therefore, mixed species would provide superior benefits in some areas. The study also stressed that use of nitrogen fertilizer should be minimized due to its environmental impacts.

The researchers state that with these principles, policy makers ca make sound policy decisions for producing sustainable biofuels.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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