Biofuels made from the stubble left over from harvesting grains could replace around one fifth of the volume of petrol used in Australia.
The article, Grain Stubble Could Power a Greener Future, by Anna Salleh, at ABC Online, doesn’t explain that this depends on second generation bioethanol production becoming an economic reality; but we are hopeful that this lignocellulosic ethanol will become a reality one day.
Michael Dunlop, from CSIRO, is quoted explaining that based on 2001 figures, the 10 main grain crops of Australia produce about 65 million tonnes of stubble. Much of this needs to be left in the ground to protect soil, retain soil carbon and reduce evaporation, leaving just under 15 million tonnes of remaining stubble to be distributed in a way that is economically viable to collect.
“That would be equivalent to roughly 20 per cent of the volume of the petrol that we use,” Dr Dunlop said.