The three year Grassohol research project is nearing its end and we wait to hear if it is possible to run buses economically on fuel made from high sugar perennial ryegrasses.
The work is being carried out by researchers at IBERS, Aberystwyth, UK and eight partners, funded by Defra, DECC and BBSRC.
Grass is seen as a potentially ideal feedstock because it:
- Is high yielding with low inputs
- Has high levels of soluble sugars and up to 90% totally fermentable sugars
- High digestibility (2-4% lignin content only
- Is eco-friendly
- Provokes limited food/fuel conflict unlike crops like wheat and sugar beet
- Can maintain landscapes in marginal/beautiful areas
- Farmers know how to grow it
- The crop is in the ground now
At the start in 2009, Project Director Dr Joe Gallagher said:
“Farmers in the UK are experts at growing pasture, and the use of these crops for bio-refining will make an important contribution to both farm income and the UK economy, whilst maintaining the traditional look of the countryside.”
1.2million hectares of land in the UK is currently re-sown grassland which could provide grass for biofuel.