Biotech Updates

University of Nebraska Explores Sweet Sorghum as Feedstock for Ethanol

January 31, 2018

A team at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is exploring sweet sorghum ethanol as a future income source for western Nebraska.

Sweet sorghum is a cultivar of sorghum developed for the harvest of juice. Due to its high sugar content and stability in drought, researchers deemed it as a potential ethanol feedstock crop on non-irrigated farmland in western Nebraska. In this case, the sugar syrup from sweet sorghum stalks would be fermented to make ethanol.

For sweet sorghum to compete for ethanol production, the team found that it must be more lucrative than corn for farmers to produce and must be more economical than ethanol plants to process. Another consideration which would increase the potential of sweet sorghum for ethanol is an increase in yields.

Currently, a separate research project aims to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production.