Front Porch Blog

Poplar trees and grass may make fine gas for cars

[California] Poplar trees and switch grass are on track to become important weapons in national security defense, and a Walnut Creek lab is speeding them on their way. The Joint Genome Institute, best known for the Human Genome Project, is betting genetic research can make those plants ideal for producing ethanol, grain alcohol that can be used as vehicle fuel. They are attempting to genetically engineer trees and grasses that produce more ethanol per acre. They will also try to increase the tree’s percentage of cellulose, the fodder for making ethanol, and make the cellulose easier to break down. Tuskan envisions fields of poplars that grow so fast and with so little lignin that they will not be able to stand on their own.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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