- Biofuel cannot be made from grasses – It’s a myth!
There are several species of perennial grasses that could be used to produce biofuels.
- Biofuel crops always compete with food crops – It’s a myth!
Grass crops for biofuel could be grown on marginal lands that would otherwise not be used. Marginal land is a broad definition covering various areas not suitable for agriculture. For example land that is subject to drought or extreme flooding, or that suffers from salt stress.
Optimising grasses to grow on these lands should help stop biofuels competing for land with food crops.
- Grass crops could be used to produce liquid fuel – It’s a fact!
As well as being baled and burnt to generate energy or heat, grasses could also be broken down by microorganisms to produce liquid fuel.
- Similar yields to food crops would be possible – It’s a myth!
Although there are many benefits to growing grass crops for biofuel on marginal lands, the crops are unlikely to produce the same yields as food crops grown on very fertile lands. However, scientists believe it will be possible to achieve worthwhile yields.
- Different crops will need to be grown in different locations – It’s a fact!
There isn’t one ideal grass crop for biofuel. Different crops will be best suited to different locations and conditions. And this will vary across Europe. For example, farmers in Ireland are likely to need grasses that can cope in soil prone to flooding, while those in northern Europe will need crops that can cope with low temperatures.
Scientists are looking at which grasses will produce the best yields and where.