Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elephant grass could be the fuel of tomorrow

Scientists at one of Wales' top universities will use elephant grass to create clean and sustainable fuel, The Western Mail reports. The £27 million project is among the largest ever to be undertaken.

Along with academics from Rothamsted Research, Imperial College London and Cambridge University will try to increase its yield, which stands at 12 mt per hectare. When combusted as coal, one hectare of elephant grass, produces enough fuel to save up to 7 mt of C02 being released into the atmosphere.

German chemical group Basf said it has developed a new generation of genetically altered crops, by precisely manipulating the plant’s own DNA, the Financial Times reports. This allows the introduction of new traits such as herbicide resistance similar to traditional genetic modification.

However, as no genes are added, the technology, known as ‘directed mutagenesis’ is likely to avoid the political and regulatory objections that have held up the introduction of gm crops, especially in Europe.

The UK Business Secretary announced £2.5 billion support for the car industry, of which £2.3 billion will be in the form of loans to be used only for research and development in low carbon technology. Bentley is introducing a new bio-fuel model at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show scheduled in March 2009, Auto Business reports. (28 January 2009)

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