Engineered sugarcane, lipidcane, shows promise for U.S. biojet fuel

December 31, 2017 |

In Illinois, researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are engineering sugarcane plants, called lipidcane, to produce more oil as well as sugar. Growing lipidcane containing 20 percent oil would be five times more profitable per acre than soybeans, the main feedstock currently used to make biodiesel in the United States, and twice as profitable per acre as corn, according to their research. They estimate that compared to soybeans, lipidcane containing 5 percent oil could produce four times more jet fuel per acre of land. Lipidcane with 20 percent oil could produce more than 15 times more jet fuel per acre.

Researchers estimate that if 23 million acres in the southeastern United States was devoted to lipidcane with 20 percent oil, the crop could produce 65 percent of the U.S. jet fuel supply at a cost to airlines of US$5.31 per gallon, which is less than bio-jet fuel produced from algae or other oil crops.

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Category: Research

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