Maize hybrid looks promising for biofuel
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have identified a new contender in the bioenergy race: a temperate and tropical maize hybrid.
Their findings, published in GCB Bioenergy, show that the maize hybrid is potentially capable of producing ethanol from biomass (plant material used for biofuel production) at levels equal to or greater than ethanol produced from grain harvested from current commercial maize hybrids.
"Our maize hybrid, when grown using the same amount of fertilizer as commercial grain hybrids, produced 15-20% more biomass than the commercial hybrids." said Dr. Frederick Below, Professor of Crop Physiology at the University of Illinois.
The scientists selected plants with different genetic combinations created from a hybridization of temperate and tropical maize in order to incorporate beneficial characteristics of both tropical and temperate maize. Accustomed to a tropical climate, the tropical parent plant experiences a much longer growing season in the Midwest than temperate varieties. Temperate maize minimizes the negative traits of tropical maize such as disease and pest vulnerability while maximizing positive traits such as drought tolerance. Both parent plants combine to form a hybrid that grows larger and accumulates more stalk sugars than conventional grain hybrids, factors that increase ethanol output.
The scientists discovered that the hybrids are capable of producing as much ethanol per acre as maize currently grown for ethanol made from grain, but the hybrids require less input such as fertilizers like nitrogen and the ethanol could be produced from the vegetative plant material.
According to Dr. Below, "the temperate and tropical maize hybrid has the potential to produce the same amount of ethanol as commercial grain hybrids, but with lower nitrogen fertilizer requirements. This difference makes the hybrid more energy efficient and can result in a more sustainable environmental life cycle."
Maize is often criticized by the scientific community as a poor choice for ethanol given the toll fertilizers can have on the environment. But as Dr. Below and his team have shown, the hybrid will significantly lessen the need for fertilizer application and provide an alternative, more environmentally sustainable feedstock for biofuel production.
While this new hybrid may be in its early stages, a wealth of information about maize has been long established, allowing for rapid improvements.
This paper is published in GCB Bioenergy. To request a copy contact GCB-Bioenergy@igb.uiuc.eduor 217-333-9651.
Rhea Kressman | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...
Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...
When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...
Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink
Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...
Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen
Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...