15 March 2010

A Tree in Your Tank

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Gas money for your tank doesn't grow on trees, but one day you might be filling up with fuel that does.

A team of researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Bowie State University is working on ways to turn poplar trees into high-yield crops for biofuels including ethanol, the renewable biofuel used in gasoline blends and flex-fuel vehicles. The hybrid trees would be grown on plantations and harvested without affecting existing woodlands.

The study is funded by a $3.2 million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Plant Genome Research Project, which supports research on plants seen as having economic and agricultural importance. Using the recently completed poplar genome, the researchers are focusing on ways to improve the tree's nitrogen processing capability, which will enhance its growth rate and feasibility for use in fuel production.

(Bio Fuel Daily)

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