Oklahoma State University

Other Biofuel Crops

Other Biofuel Crops

Basically, all crops can be used as a source of energy to produce biofuels.  Many plant species are used or proposed to be use to produce fuel, some from their grain and others from their vegetative parts. 

The primary grain crops considered important or potentially important for biofuel production include, corn, sorghum, soybean, and canola.

Biofuel from stalks may come from cellulose in switchgrass, Miscanthus, corn stover, alfalfa, and sorghum stover.  It can also come from sugars stored in stems as in tropical corn, sweet sorghum, and sugar cane.  The same can be said for sugarbeet but the sugar is stored in the root.  It is possible that the material left over after extraction of sugar could undergo cellulosic conversion to produce additional biofuel or burned along with coal.

The choice of which species should be researched, developed, and/or promoted as biofuel crops is complicated.  Generally, it would be good if biofuel crops could be grown and harvested with existing equipment and fit into farming enterprises with little or no disruption of land and labor resources.  Some species have been promoted as candidates for biofuel because they are native (considered to be noninvasive) and/or can be grown on marginal land.  It would be good if biofuel crops could be identified that would not compete with existing food crops for our most productive soils; however, most crops grown on marginal lands have low yields, sometimes so low as to be uneconomical.

A few comments about current or potential biofuel crops for Oklahoma are presented along with selected links to information on the web.

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