Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Biofuels

Sunflowers: A Fuel of the Future?

sunflower

Sunflowers are already used for oil production and to make biodiesel— now scientists want to look into their viability as ethanol producers in the state of Georgia and beyond.

Over the next few years, University of Georgia scholar Steve Knapp will study silverleaf and Algodones dune sunflowers, both of which  are woody-stemmed species that grow as tall as 21 feet. The species have the ability to produce significant amounts of cellulosic biomass, which can be converted into ethanol.

But both the silverleaf and Algodones dune sunflowers are wild species, and domestication takes time. Knapp plans to tackle the problem by studying each of the sunflower’s 40,000 to 50,000 genes to determine what they control in the plant. Obviously, this is an undertaking that could take years.

However, Knapp does have plentiful funding to get him started—he has received $1.2 million from the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense, $500,000 from seed companies, and $400,000 from the USDA Plant Genome program.

Whether or not the sunflowers emerges as a serious contender in the ethanol race remains to be seen, but its commercial use could easily provide some extra income to Georgia farmers.

Posts Related to Biofuels:

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

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.

Comments

You May Also Like

Oil

Big Oil is looking for help from Big Corn to fight President Biden's clean energy policies and EV mandate. So far, the ethanol folks...

Biomass

Formula 1 commits to becoming carbon neutral in 2021 and fully net zero by the year 2030.

Clean Power

Argonne National Lab says it has created a new eletrochemical process that can convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol efficiently and at low...

Clean Transport

The University of Georgia (UGA) has plans to add more electric buses on its campus and to host the largest fleet of electric buses...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.