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Leaves, Twigs, and Bark: Cheap Biofuel Alternatives?


It seems like new reports are practically coming out daily about the next great gasoline alternative— furfural, algae, and switchgrass, just to name a few. Now 3 more contenders have entered the ring: leaves, twigs, and bark.

Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Research Organization (CSIRO) reports that lignocellulose, a component of plants and wood, could potentially be used as a cheap fuel—as inexpensive as $40-60 a barrel.

Even better, lignocellulose biofuels are compatible with current facilities. All they need for conversion is an extra unit in front of any existing sugar biofuel facility.

And there are plenty of benefits of using lignocellulose instead of other types of biofuels. Since plants, leaves and twigs aren’t food crops and require little input during their growth, they don’t compete heavily for resources needed for foodstuffs.

To learn even more about second-generation biofuels such as lignocellulose, check out the CSIRO podcast.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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