DOE researchers find drought-hit biomass produces toxic compounds rather than fuels

September 12, 2017 |

In the Midwest, Department of Energy researchers examined the effect of weather on biofuel production by comparing switchgrass and corn stover harvested after a year of major drought and after 2 years of normal precipitation. They found that the plants produced more sugar, but the sugar changed during pretreatment and produced toxic compounds rather than the desired fuels.

The study is the first linking changes in rainfall and other conditions during crop growth to potential detrimental effects on biofuels. The work underscores the need to develop production systems that can tolerate sugars produced under stress and turn those sugars into the desired biofuels.

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Category: Research

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