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    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

EU to subsidize energy crops further as biofuels production in Europe surges

The European Commission today proposed to extend the energy crop premium introduced by the 2003 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform to the eight member states which currently do not benefit from it.

This would involve increasing the maximum area which can benefit from the aid to 2 million hectares from 1.5 million at present. In a further push to encourage the production of biomass feedstocks for renewable energy, the Commission also proposed allowing the member states to grant national aid of up to 50 percent of the costs of establishing multi-annual crops on areas on which an application for the energy crop aid has been made. In the interests of simplifying the management of the CAP, the Commission has also proposed to allow eight member states which joined the EU in 2004 to continue operating the so-called 'Single Area Payment Scheme' (SAPS) for a further two years until 2010. The countries affected are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“We need to do all we can to encourage the production of the raw materials for biofuels,” said Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. “The energy crop scheme has had a good start. Now it’s only fair that we give farmers in all Member States the chance to benefit from this support. Extending the SAPS scheme also makes sense because it has proved a very simple and efficient method of supporting farmers in eight of the 10 countries which joined the EU in 2004. I am looking very closely at all possible ways of adding simplicity to the running of the CAP.”

The proposals accompany the first report on the operation of the energy crops scheme, which found the following:
  • The €45/hectare aid for energy crops was applied for the fist time in 2004 to provide an incentive for farmers to grow the raw materials for biofuels. The area for which the direct payment for energy crops was claimed was between 1.2 and 1.2 million hectares in 2006, close to the limit of 1.5million hectares.
  • The data on the development of bioethanol and biodiesel production as well as recently constructed capacities show a dramatic increase in the demand for energy crops within the next few years.
  • The aid for energy crops is an incentive for farmers to produce crops for energy, instead of crops for food. Such energy crops can be converted both into solid, liquid and gaseous biofuels. Currently, 8 of the 10 new member states which apply the SAPS are excluded from this aid for energy crops, while Malta and Slovenia may receive aid up to the "phasing-in" level only.
  • The review of the EU/CAP energy crops scheme has shown that it is appropriate to extend the aid for energy crops to all member states as from 2007 and under the same conditions. This way, the maximum guaranteed hectarage on which energy crops may be grown, should be increased proportionately.
  • The data available on biofuel consumption and national indicative targets for the EU-25 show that many new member states have adopted national measures (for example exemptions from excise duty) to suport the production and use of biofuels. These data show that new member states are making significant efforts to comply with the Biofuels Initiative and the Biofuels Directive.
  • To strengthen the role of multi-annual energy crops, the member states should be entitled to grant national aid of up to 50% of the costs associated with establishing such crops, for the areas that have been subject to an application for the CAP aid for energy crops.
In February, the Commission adopted an ambitious EU Strategy for Biofuels. Increased use of biofuels will bring numerous benefits, by reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuel imports, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing new outlets for farmers and opening up new economic possibilities in several developing countries:
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Todays’ proposal includes also improvements to certain rules governing direct payments, notably: (1) the possibility for the new Member States using SAPS to continue to use this simple way of granting income support to the farmers until the end of the year 2010, instead of 2008; from the start of 2009, farmers in the countries opting to continue this simplified direct aid scheme would have, as in other Member States, to comply under ‘cross-compliance’ with the statutory requirements in the areas of environment, public, animal and plant health and animal welfare to receive full payments under direct payment schemes and certain rural development measures; (2) the simplification of the eligibility rules under the single payment scheme for land with olive trees; (3) the clarification that the phasing-in of direct payments in the new Member States does not apply to all the direct payments related to the sugar regime.

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Tropical shifting cultivation practise increases soil fertility - farming in a post-oil world

Earlier we reported about the ancient 'terra preta' technique of agriculture which boosts the fertility of poor soils in the tropics. The technique promises to become the basis for biofuel farming in some parts of the South, because not only does it enhance soils and increase yields, it also offers a strategy for carbon sequestration.

Several years ago, a Duke University doctoral student in botany found another indigenous agroforestry technique, a type of shifting cultivation long practiced on the Indonesian island of Borneo, that can boost the fertility of tropical soils. Deborah Lawrence made her findings during five years of research at a remote Dayak village whose inhabitants periodically clear 2 acre patches of land for rice farming or rubber and fruit tree cultivation. In between cultivating these patches, the Dayaks allow them to revert to native shrubs and trees during 20 year long "fallow" periods, with surprising results. This way, the Dayaks succeeded in cultivating plots of land sustainably for more than 200 years, without any loss in fertility.
Since she published her dissertation, Lawrence has been studying the phenomenon in other places (Southern Mexico and Costa Rica) and the results are largely confirmed.

The fallow and active farming sites of the Dayaks are nested within a matrix of "primary" forest land that has never been cleared for farming -- forming a mosaic of differing land uses. Lawrence's analyses of soils and trees focused on seven grown-over fallow sites that had not been cultivated for 10 years, and three other never-disturbed primary forest sites.

The results show that the Dayak method of shifting cultivation actually makes soils more fertile than those in undisturbed primary forest. Those results themselves are "surprising," she said in a recent interview at Duke, because they contradict negative perceptions of "slash and burn" methods that the Dayaks themselves employ to clear land.

In her newest study, Lawrence found that -- especially when she combined all her data from all her sites -- tree biodiversity was "negatively correlated" with soil fertility. In other words, the less carbon, calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium she found in the soil, the more varieties of trees she found growing in a given study plot.

Each of those elements is an essential nutrient, Lawrence said. Carbon is the building block for all organic life, while nitrogen and magnesium both contribute to the photosynthetic process that uses sunlight to create plant sugars. Phosphorus is essential for energy production. Calcium is used to make plant cell walls. And potassium contributes to plant water regulation.

When she separated the fallow site data from that for the primary forest sites, Lawrence found some interesting differences. Not only was there more tree diversity in the never-disturbed woodlands, she said, but to some extent, the relationship between biodiversity and soil fertility was actually reversed when primary forest plots were analyzed alone:
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With increasing fertility, diversity increased in primary forest, whereas it decreased in periodically-cultivated plots. "It's as if cultivation takes the soil over some critical threshold where nutrients increase to the point that they then actually limit diversity in a negative way," said Lawrence, who is specializing in biogeochemistry and community ecology.

Her latest findings offer mixed signals for the prospects of reclaiming former tropical rain forests that have been cleared of their trees. On the one hand, she said, they corroborate a paradoxical finding of other scientists. Tropical rain forests may grow the world's most diverse array of plant life. But conditions are so delicately balanced there that the soils actually contain relatively few nutrients.

That means that subsistence farmers who clear tracts of the rich forests in the hopes of a quick return in bountiful row crops are quickly disappointed. They then must move on to destroy additional rain forest, leaving behind soil too depleted to grow anything but scrub grass.

But Lawrence's findings also suggest that Borneo's Dayaks have found a way to manage rain forest land much more productively by alternating various parcels between rice production, tree gardening, and decades-long resting periods.

"It's a broad mosaic of uses, much richer in species than any other land use system around," she said. "It's certainly richer than tree plantations or oil palm plantations or clove plantations or pulpwood plantations. But, within this land use system itself, there's no doubt that there's a decline in diversity and that it will probably continue."

By improving the soil's fertility, though, Dayak methods may actually create the conditions for the long process of generating the next rain forest, Lawrence added. All that would be needed would be seed from nearby remaining patches of primary forest.

"It means that we don't have to bring fertilizers in to get the forests to come back," she said. "We just have to leave them alone and make sure there are seed sources."

Fluent in Indonesian, Lawrence collected an oral history of the changing uses of each patch of land in her study area by gaining the Dayak's trust over a five-year period. She would ask farmers how many times they had "opened" a given patch for cultivation, knowing that there were intervening fallow periods of approximately 20 years.

She also asked the farmers what they remembered about their parents and grandparents use of various tracts. "I think that by going back three generations you can get a rough but pretty reliable estimate about how many times a patch was used," she said.

Land in her study area around the Dayak village of Kembera has been in continuous though shifting cultivation for at least 200 years.

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US firm starts biofuels venture in Liberia, brings 'tens of thousands' of jobs

Earlier we wrote about Congo's colonial era plantations that still exist and that urgently need to be rehabilitated. All over Africa there are similar palm plantations that yield far below their potential, and some of them have even entirely been abandoned. Bringing these plantations back online in a well managed way, or replacing the palms with new high yielding varieties, offers a potentially environmentally (and if undertaken correctly, a socially responsible) way of sourcing biofuels feedstock: no new hectarages are deforested to make way for new plantations, and some of the world's poorest communities find new and stable employment opportunities. This is exactly what American company International Bio Fuels Corp (IBF) is attempting to do in Liberia, a country that just came out of a bloody civil war which seriously damaged the plantation sector.

IBF announced today that it plans to develop a large scale biodiesel plant and palm crushing facility in Liberia. IBF and its Liberian business counterparts have been working with the local government officials and local farmers for the past nine months for the implementation of this project.

According to IBF, it is planning to work with a couple of large philanthropic foundations to raise the capital required and that the majority of the profits will be used to build schools, hospitals and to revitalize the local communities through establishing small educational training centers for the prevention and education of diseases.

The project should employ tens of thousands of farmers and elevate the standard of living throughout Liberia and the region. IBF’s President Marty Johnson said, "It's kind of like the gift that keeps on giving. Foundations are accustomed to donating funds to build schools and hospitals and that's where the money stops. This way we can build a profitable entity that puts thousands of people to work and generates ongoing profit that can then be re-invested in the communities for years to come."

IBF and its Liberian business counterparts say they have identified locations where there are pre-existing palm plantations:
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Currently the palm is just going to waste as there are no crushing facilities available in these regions; this valuable renewable resource is going un-tapped. Johnson explains that the cost of the biodiesel plant and crushing facility is not cheap. The turn-key facility is estimated at $65 million USD for development and construction costs. However, the project is projected to net over $50 million USD per year, which will go a long way to stimulate a tremendous amount of growth in the region.

International Bio Fuels is in the development stage of 14 projects which are located in the U.S., Indonesia, China, and now, Africa, but says this is the first of its kind to be built with the intention of generating profits to be given to the communities for worthwhile development. Johnson said, "Foundations similar to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation (which recently announced their African Green Revolution program which is intended to put farmers to work) are those which will hopefully help sponsor this project."

International Bio Fuels Corp. is a leading biofuels company dealing in both ethanol and biodiesel. IBF recently presented at this year's International Biofuels Symposium in Beijing, China on the topic of emerging technologies.

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Biofuel crops: power to the world's dryland poor

The following essay [original] by Dr William Dar, president of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), highlights some of the issues we are concerned with here at the Biopact. Dr Dar points out that the biofueled future offers both great challenges and opportunities for the developing world, and in particular for the 600 million people living in the world's drylands. The ICRISAT aims to overcome hunger, poverty and a degraded environment in the dry tropics through better agriculture. The organisation belongs to the Alliance of Future Harvest Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which made the 'Green Revolution' become a reality.

Developing nations are looking towards biofuels to help reduce their spiraling foreign oil import costs, and to mitigate pollution and global warming. The drylands, often neglected compared to more favorable areas, can contribute importantly to a biofueled future. Our challenge — and opportunity — is to ensure that the dryland poor are not left behind.

Bio-ethanol: an idea whose time has come
Contrary to common belief that massive subsidies are needed to promote bio-ethanol, it is now price-competitive with petrol (gasoline) in India without subsidies, due to recently skyrocketing petrol prices. This is the case even after adjusting for energy-equivalency (one liter of petrol has the same energy content as 1.5 liters of ethanol). India is targeting a 10% blend of ethanol in its national petrol supply.

The constraint is not the cost of ethanol production; it is the supply of raw materials. This is where ICRISAT and partners come in.

Sweet, sweet sorghum
Most bio-ethanol in India is produced from the molasses left over from the refining of sugar from sugarcane, but the supply of molasses is insufficient and not reliable enough for costly ethanol production facilities that need to keep working around the clock to pay off. We are excited about the potential of a little-known dryland crop, sweet sorghum, to help fill this supply gap. ‘Sweet’ varieties of sorghum store large quantities of energy as sugar in their stalks, while also producing reasonable grain yields.

Sorghum, like sugarcane and maize, exhibits C4 metabolism – making it more efficient at converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into sugar than most plants. As a dryland crop, sorghum requires far less water than costly irrigated sugarcane, making it more accessible to the poor. The juice squeezed out of sweet sorghum stalks contains about 15-20% sugar that can be fermented into ethanol more cheaply than from sugarcane molasses—and with even greater energy savings compared to maize grain, which has to be hydrated and converted from starch to sugar before it can be fermented.

India’s National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS) has long recognized the potential of sweet sorghum and has developed excellent open-pollinated varieties and some hybrids. Our complementary contribution has been the identification of high-sugar parent lines for hybrid breeding from our global germplasm collection (another payoff from that immensely valuable resource). Hybrids are also less photoperiod sensitive so they can be grown year-round, smoothing out supply variations for the ethanol production facilities.

Making it happen
We are stimulating public-private collaboration to move sweet sorghum from a good idea on the shelf, to impact on the ground. Our hybrid sorghum program receives substantial support from the private sector (30 seed companies) through our innovative Hybrid Seed Consortium, so the seeds are moving quickly through the research-to-development pipeline:
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At ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, India we’ve also formed a public-private partnership with Rusni Distilleries (P) Ltd. Rusni ensures that seeds of the highest-sugar sorghum varieties identified by ICRISAT and NRCS reach farmers so they can increase their productivity. Rusni also helps farmers by transporting the stalks from farms within a 30 kilometer radius of the plant, and providing more distant farmers with technologies to crush the stalks and reduce the juice into syrup that can be moved cost-efficiently to the ethanol production plant. Lessons we are learning from this partnership will enable the technology to scale up faster and more widely in the coming years.

Forty percent of India’s oil imports are consumed in the form of diesel fuel, and demand is rapidly growing. The nation has adopted similar blending targets as for bio-ethanol (10%). Bio-diesel is even more environment-friendly than bio-ethanol because it requires less energy to process. It is also much less polluting than fossil-fuel diesel.

As in the case of bio-ethanol, the biggest constraint for takeoff of the bio-diesel industry is insufficient supply of the raw material. To fill this gap, vast wasteland areas, estimated at 38 to 187 million hectares in India, that include areas suitable for dryland-hardy bio-diesel crops can be made available to local communities. While providing an income-earning opportunity for the poor, these perennial tree and shrub crops also help rehabilitate these lands by building the fertility of their soils.

Two contrasting dryland species are especially interesting: Pongamia pinnata, a leguminous tree adapted to wetter wastelands with problem soils; and Jatropha curcas, a more drought-tolerant shrub adapted to well-drained wastelands and widely grown as a homestead boundary plant in the Sahel. Both produce fruits containing about 35% oil suitable for bio-diesel.

Women are the main cultivators and processors of bio-diesel crops at the village level. ICRISAT is working with poor women united in self-help groups to start Pongamia enterprises in remote tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, India, and working with India’s national research system to identify high-oil varieties as well as better cultivation methods.

India is also promoting Jatropha; it is grown along rail lines and the oil is blended with petro-diesel to power trains. Japtropha is also widely grown as a hedgerow boundary plant in Indian and African villages. We are exploring the genetic variability in Jatropha on both continents to find higher-oil types to increase its income-earning potential.

A future of possibility
Some question whether biofuel crops will compete for land with food crops, driving up food prices. To be sure, there are risks; however we look at this issue differently.

The dryland poor need food to eat, but they also need opportunities for economic growth if they are to escape poverty. Sorghum production in India has been declining for many years due to urban preferences and subsidies for rice and wheat, lessening economic opportunities for dryland agriculturalists. The same trends will probably develop in Africa in decades to come. Increases in area sown to corn or sugarcane for ethanol, in contrast would take the most valuable, fertile lands out of food production.

Through research-for-development, we can help transition the sorghum enterprise from a human food to a cash crop for bio-ethanol as well as producing grains and stalks that feed humans and livestock. We can help rural villages gain greater self-sufficiency in energy production through bio-diesel crops. The benefits are multiple and significant: easing poverty, reducing air pollution, mitigating global warming, and rehabilitating degraded wastelands.

Biofuels are a major emerging trend that can have a large impact on dryland development. Now, in the early stages, is the time of greatest opportunity to ensure that the poor capture a large share of the benefits. Raw materials are a key constraint that we are helping to overcome in a pro-poor manner through our dryland crops expertise and partnerships with investors, governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Many twists and turns still lie ahead of us on this road, but I am confident that with your support and partnership we will be able to power a better future for the drylands through biofuels.

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Some biofuel crops could become invasive species

As the world looks to energy crops as alternatives to fossil fuels, a University of Arkansas researcher and his colleagues call for caution, citing the possibility of some biofuel crops becoming invasive species.

Robert N. Wiedenmann, professor of entomology, and his colleagues S. Raghu, Roger C. Anderson, Curt C. Daehler, Adam S. Davis, Dan Simberloff and Richard N. Mack put forth their argument for ecological studies of biofuel crops in the policy forum in the Sept. 22 issue of Science.

“Most of the traits that are touted as great for biofuel crops – no known pests or diseases, rapid growth, high water-use efficiency – are red flags for invasion biologists,” Wiedenmann said. “We want to start a dialog and approach the question of biofuels systematically.”

President George Bush announced the U.S. renewable energy initiative in his 2006 State of the Union address, bringing to the forefront the identification and use of potential biofuels as alternative energy sources. The authors of the Policy Forum article in Science call for an examination of potential invasiveness as crops are examined for their biofuel potential and before putting such crops into large-scale production:
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Seemingly benign crops that have become invasive species have already occurred in the United States. Wiedenmann and his colleagues cite the case of Sorghum halepense, otherwise known as Johnson grass. Johnson grass was introduced as a forage grass and now has become an invasive weed in many states, causing up to $30 million annually in losses for cotton and soybean crops in just three states.

One proposed biofuel crop, Miscanthus, can grow up to eight feet in six weeks. Wiedenmann describes it as “Johnson grass on steroids.”

“Plants like these, particularly grasses, have great potential from an energy standpoint, but the benefits need to be balanced with the costs,” Wiedenmann said.

Although invasive species are traditionally thought of as introduced species, a native species also can become invasive through alterations to the environment, Wiedenmann said. One example: the removal of oak and chestnut trees along much of the east coast has led to sugar maples becoming invasive in some areas.

Invasive species alter ecosystems in ways that can cause both ecological and economic harm. Since 1999, the U.S. government has had an invasive species council, which develops invasive species management plans.

Researchers investigating the potential for biofuels tend to be engineering or agricultural specialists who are looking at maximizing energetic conversion or crop size. Wiedenmann and his colleagues want to see ecologists at the table with engineering and agricultural researchers addressing the potential for invasiveness. He cites a lack of communication in one government organization where some scientists were examining a plant for heavy metal mitigation, while another group of scientists were working on biological control of the same plant.

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