Biofuel in the haystack Photograph: Monolith
Researchers are trawling the worst bits of agricultural farmland in Argentina to hunt for the next “Blood Diamond”. They are sampling land where new biofuel crops could be harvested and resold as recycled electricity.
The project, called “Biopesticide Group” and run by scientists at the Instituto Nacional de Regeneración, is working to build a platform to identify potential new biofuel crops.
The fruits of the research may be enormous. Biopesticides are chemically generated microorganisms that could be used to collect water, soil and nutrients and then be fermented into sugars – a more efficient way of producing fuel than using grain.
Their plants would also take up more water and land, but the company hopes the crops they grow will be better suited to “land conversion from conventional agricultural operations.”
They hope that only sustainable methods will be used, using locally-grown crops.
Using correctly produced biofuel could slash the cost of electricity, speeding up the switch to renewable energy. As a result, the World Bank and US government are funding this project.
The economic opportunities aside, some industry leaders are concerned about the lack of infrastructure needed to support such a project, including specific air and water clean-up procedures.