The US government has set a regulation saying that at least 20 billion gallons of non-corn biofuels should be produced annually by 2020.
The alternative to corn could be various types of grasses, like miscanthus and switchgrass. Their main advantages are that they can grow on sterile grounds and have yield more biofuel per acre. They also have lower water requirements than corn.
“It’s a better way to achieve our goals of energy security and climate change mitigation,” Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, says.
“These two particular crops are among the more promising nonfood crops currently available for large-scale production.”
Europe already produces biofuels based on miscanthus, while switchgrass is used in the Midwest US.