Oklahoma Researchers Look to Refuel Ethanol
by Adam Wilmoth (News OK) The extended drought has reduced the country’s corn supply and driven up corn costs, affecting the price of ethanol and gasoline. Oklahoma researchers are working to solve both problems.
Researchers in Oklahoma are leading the effort to produce ethanol without tapping the country’s food supplies.
…Other less-favorable plants also contain enough sugar for ethanol, but most of those are thick, tough, so-called “cellulosic” plants that are much more difficult to break down.
Oklahoma researchers are trying to change that, focusing their efforts on switchgrass, a weed that is natural to this part of the country and can be cultivated.
Researchers at OSU and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore are working to develop a switchgrass breed that yields higher amounts of usable plant per acre.
At the same time, researchers at the University of Oklahoma are trying to develop a switchgrass strain that is easier to break down into more simple sugars.
And researchers in other parts of the country are working on the methods and procedures that convert the plant into fuel, hoping to both increase the amount of ethanol produced and decrease the economic and energy costs involved in the process. READ MORE