Tequila could soon become new biofuel

April 25th, 2009 - 12:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Apr 25 (ANI): It is known for fuelling many wild party nights, and now tequila will power your car too, that’s what researchers in southeast Queensland say.

Scientists believe that the plant, Agave tequilana, which fuels tequila madness, can trigger internal combustion engines.

Central Queensland University’s Professor Nanjappa Ashwath has said that agave, which is used to make the potent spirit, is one of the most water-efficient plants in the world and has the potential to create ethanol.

And now, he has given his nod to help tequila researchers Don Chambers and Simon Watson, of Energy Enterprises Australia, in their plan to establish field trials to assess the succulent plant’s potential to serve as an alternative raw material for ethanol production units located around sugar mills.

Farmers near Childers are growing the agave for the trials.

“In Queensland the sugar mills run six months of the year. The remaining six months they sit idle, doing nothing,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ashwath as saying.

He added: “If we can grow the agave and supply that to the sugar mills, then we can maximise the use of the existing infrastructure at the same time as we produce alternative products.”

Watson said the research indicated agave could yield 16,000 litres of ethanol per hectare annually, as compared to the 10,000 litres for sugar cane.

“We believe Agave shows real promise here in Australia as both a second-generation biofuel, and an opportunity for Australian farmers in the face of global climate change,” said Watson.

He pointed out that agave would not deplete existing food production or push up world food prices, unlike other sources of ethanol, such as corn.

Ashwath said that they might need about three years to prove the concept, but he was confident of its future, depending on fuel price movements. (ANI)

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