Saturday, 17 November 2012
A new strain of yeast and the inedible part of sugar cane could revolutionise global fuel production. A pair of Australian brothers have developed a powerful yeast that can convert waste biomass such as sugar cane byproducts into ethanol. More than 80 billion litres of ethanol is produced from edible crops such as corn each year. Next generation biofuels aim to reduce the reliance on food crops, but scientists have struggled to produce ethanol from the woody, inedible part of plants. Geoff and Phil Bell's high-quality yeast, which has received funding from the United States and Australian governments, has overcome this problem. The pair hope to turn the first sod at a Microbiogen plant in two to three years.