17 Apr 2008 11:04:08
Experts say ryegrass may be a sustainable biofuel option
Perennial ryegrass could be the latest sustainable product that could be used as biofuel, reports have suggested.
According to Welsh newspaper the Daily Post, scientists believe bio-ethanol could be cultivated from ryegrass that would offer a sustainable transport fuel solution without affecting food crops.
It is reported that experts from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) in Aberystwyth have produced research that shows one hectare of grassland could be used to generate as much as 5,000 litres of biofuel.
Dr Steven Fish, a spokesman for IGER, said that the cellulosic ethanol produced from the ryegrass could lead to decreased dependence on petrochemical fuels within 10 years time.
"A London Transport bus, for instance, could run for a whole year on grass-derived ethanol grown on 11.2 hectares," he said.
Producing biofuel from ryegrass involves the extraction of sugar from the plant which is then fermented with yeast to produce alcohol - which leaves ethanol when distilled.