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posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 15 2017, @07:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the good-smelling-exhaust dept.

Feed your cattle, fuel your Mustang:

Sweet sorghum is not just for breakfast anymore. Although sorghum is a source for table syrup, scientists see a future in which we convert sorghum to biofuel, rather than relying on fossil fuel. That potential just grew as University of Florida researchers found three UF/IFAS-developed sorghum varieties could produce up to 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre.

"Sweet sorghum has the potential to be an effective feedstock for ethanol production," said Wilfred Vermerris, a UF/IFAS professor of microbiology and cell science and a co-author on the study.

Ethanol produced from sweet sorghum can be used for auto and jet fuel, UF/IFAS researchers said.

UF/IFAS researchers picture big fuel potential from sorghum partly because it's so abundant. Sorghum is the fifth largest cereal crop in the world and the third largest in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2014, the U.S. was the largest producer of sorghum in the world.

UF/IFAS scientists like sorghum because it can be cultivated twice a year in Florida, requires little fertilizer, uses water efficiently and can be drought resistant, UF/IFAS research shows.

Combine this with terra preta to get more harvests per year and they might have something.

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  • (Score: 1) by Gault.Drakkor on Friday December 15 2017, @07:32PM (2 children)

    by Gault.Drakkor (1079) on Friday December 15 2017, @07:32PM (#610411)

    Majority of plants are something like 0.1-2% efficient at turning sunlight into plant. Some plants, prime example sugar cane, are 4% efficient.
    Wikipedia article photosynthetic efficiency.

    Even if you can get 12 harvests a year it doesn't matter. The current theoretical max is incident solar influx * .04. The benefits are less then that due to fertilizer, harvest and processing costs.

    So return on invested energy is really low. Low enough that at this time it is below total system unity, well below. Cool research, but this should be research only.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @10:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15 2017, @10:01PM (#610497)

    So, don't make energy from the sun, because it's not as efficient as making it from old dinosaurs?

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday December 16 2017, @01:58AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 16 2017, @01:58AM (#610589) Homepage Journal

    Unlike corn, sorghum doesn't require intensive fertilization. So, switching from corn biofuel to sorghum biofuel will save a lot of the energy investment.

    Let's go Brandon!