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|Author:||dad [ Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:43 am ]|
|Post subject:||Project Grasshol|
This project makes me think that homans are (in some cases) a little delayed...Nature is from long ago that is giving "black gold" after all the proceeding similar to the one used in this project. But ... better late than never!
The Welsh Assembly Government has said farmers in Wales could use fields of grass to make ethanol, setting up a national endeavour equivalent in scale to a Welsh wine industry.
It has awarded a £154,000 grant to a research project looking for the best way to turn common ryegrass into biofuel for use in transport.
The £1 million "Grasshol" project is being led by the new Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, and also involves two Welsh companies - Aber Instruments and the Wynnstay Group.
The same land could be used for animal grazing, silage production and fuel production
Dr Joe Gallagher, University of Aberystwyth
Almost two thirds of Wales - some one million hectares - is permanent grassland, and the Welsh Assembly believes farmers could turn common ryegrass crops into ethanol, as well as using it to feed livestock.
Those behind the Grasshol project said one hectare of ryegrass would produce up to 4,500 litres of ethanol through fermentation and distillation processes, a renewable fuel which can replace petrol in suitable car engines.
The Assembly suggested local refineries could be set up on farms in Wales to be run like wine-producing co-operatives.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, the Assembly minister for the economy and transport, said: "If successful, Grasshol has the potential to stimulate the rural economy and provide farmers with a viable form of diversification.
"It could result in new green jobs and will lay the foundation for developing ancillary technologies geared to bioethanol production and biorefining," the minister added.
Under the university-industry collaboration, Powys-based Wynnstay is expected to gain valuable information on the production and processing of grass feedstocks for bioethanol production.
This will include finding the best variety of the high-sugar ryegrass as well as suitable processing machinery and monitoring instruments.
The research is also expected to contribute towards the establishment of a centre of excellence for farm-based biorefinery operations in Wales.
Dr Joe Gallagher, principal instigator at the University of Aberystwyth, said cultivation of ryegrass to produce ethanol in Wales would not affect environmentally-sensitive landscapes or threaten global food supplies.
He said of ryegrass: "It offers greater potential as a feedstock for bioethanol production than many other energy crops.
"If a new profitable outlet is found for grass, then farmers have the ability to grow more to meet that demand and technically the same land could be used for animal grazing, silage production and fuel production," explained Dr Gallagher.
The Grasshol project has also received funding from the UK government through Defra, DECC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
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