‘Tequila’ powered biofuels more efficient than corn or sugar

Posted: March 31, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, research
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Well, yes and no. The agave plant produces less fuel per hectare than sugar cane, but needs less water and has other claimed advantages. But the current low oil price is making all biofuel options look even more expensive than before, plus they are all land-hungry.
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The agave plant used to make tequila could be established in semi-arid Australia as an environmentally friendly solution to Australia’s transport fuel shortage, a team of researchers at the University of Sydney, University of Exeter and University of Adelaide has found.

The efficient, low-water process could also help produce ethanol for hand sanitiser, which is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, notes TechXplore.

In an article published this week in the Journal of Cleaner Production, University of Sydney agronomist Associate Professor Daniel Tan with international and Australian colleagues have analysed the potential to produce bioethanol (biofuel) from the agave plant, a high-sugar succulent widely grown in Mexico to make the alcoholic drink tequila.

The agave plant is now being grown as a biofuel source on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland by MSF Sugar, and it promises some significant advantages over existing sources of bioethanol such as sugarcane and corn, Associate Professor Tan said.

“Agave is an environmentally friendly crop that we can grow to produce ethanol-based fuels and healthcare products,” said Associate Professor Tan from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture.

“It can grow in semi-arid areas without irrigation; and it does not compete with food crops or put demands on limited water and fertiliser supplies. Agave is heat and drought tolerant and can survive Australia’s hot summers.”

Associate Professor Tan assembled the research team and led its economic analysis.

Lead author Dr. Xiaoyu Yan from the University of Exeter, who led the lifecycle assessment, said: “Our analysis highlights the possibilities for bioethanol production from agave grown in semi-arid Australia, causing minimum pressure on food production and water resources.

“The results suggest that bioethanol derived from agave is superior to that from corn and sugarcane in terms of water consumption and quality, greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ethanol output.”

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Kip Hansen says:

    Do Australians want to turn over thousands of acres of native wildlands to biofuel production?

  2. Damian says:

    Knowing Australians they would probably rather turn over acres of native wild lands to tequila production 😃

  3. tom0mason says:

    If Tequila is in the fuel tank then this must be on the radio …

  4. tom0mason says:

    If it’s Tequila in your tank then maybe it should be this on the vehicle entertainment player …

  5. tom0mason says:

    Oops sorry about the duplicate post, I failed to refresh so thought it didn’t stick the first time.
    (it’s not a joke worth repeating!)

  6. Curious George says:

    Could agaves become the same blessing as opuntias or rabbits?

  7. Graeme No.3 says:

    Curious George:
    My thought is the same. Opuntia (Prickly Pear) destroyed nearly half of Queensland’s agricultural land ** (and more in NSW). That’s why there is Memorial Hall there to the Cactoblastus which was imported and ate an enormous quantity of prickly pear.

    Meanwhile in S.A. the local distilleries are producing alcohol from grapes, apples etc. to meet the demand for hand sanitisers.

    **Think twice the size of the UK

  8. Gamecock says:

    ‘the Journal of Cleaner Production’

    My Bible.

    ‘it promises some significant advantages over existing sources of bioethanol such as sugarcane and corn’

    Yes, it is only really stupid. Not unbelievably, hideously, people should go to prison stupid.

  9. Jc Collins says:

    You do know that it takes at least 5 years growth for an agave to have enough fluid content to be worth harvesting for Tequila purposes.

  10. ivan says:

    More clutching at straws by those that see anything that makes life easier for the masses, after all they have to force people towards the sustainable cities slave camps of the UN Agenda 21 New World Order.

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