University of Hawaii at Hilo researchers studying sugarcane-based aviation biofuel

April 20, 2021 |

In Hawaii, a groundbreaking study investigating the growth of selected varieties of sugarcane to convert into high-performance jet fuel is underway at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM). Utilizing advanced technologies in agronomics and bioeconomy, the researchers are ultimately looking to improve the island’s environmental sustainability, build a stronger economy and create educational opportunities for students.

Field trials growing different varieties of sugarcane at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa began in February, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.

The study includes testing modern commercial sugarcane varieties (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum spp.) H68-1158 and H78-0292. Large pot studies are also being conducted to evaluate the nutrient use efficiencies of the selected sugarcane under marginal soil fertility in comparison with an early 1900s variety.

The project is a collaboration between the CAFNRM and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in California, one of four regional U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Centers.

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