Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future

Date:
March 7, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Superb natural latex from a desert shrub called guayule (why-YOU-lee) makes high-quality gloves, medical devices, and other in-demand natural rubber products. But guayule may also prove to be an economical, environmentally friendly source of another valuable resource--energy.

ARS research chemist Colleen McMahan is studying guayule, a native desert plant that could be farmed as a domestic source of bioenergy as well as high-quality latex.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb

Superb natural latex from a desert shrub called guayule (why-YOU-lee) makes high-quality gloves, medical devices, and other in-demand natural rubber products.

Related Articles


But guayule may also prove to be an economical, environmentally friendly source of another valuable resource—energy. That's according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Colleen M. McMahan at the agency's Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.

Bioenergy can be made from ground-up guayule stems and branches, left after their white, rubber-rich latex has been removed, McMahan noted. The leftovers—a soft, light brown sawdust-like material called bagasse—provide 8,000 to 9,000 Btu per pound, about the same as charcoal.

McMahan's collaborators include ARS chemist Kevin M. Holtman at the Albany center, who has already made small amounts of ethanol from guayule, and chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. Boateng is looking into converting guayule bagasse into bio-oil or synthetic gas.

Guayule offers many biofuel benefits. It isn't a food or feed crop, so using it for energy production won't compete with those uses. Guayule shrubs can be harvested for the first time as early as two years after planting, and are ready to harvest again in about another year and a half.

Guayule's bagasse and latex are available year round. The only other biofuel feedstock available continuously right now is garbage (municipal solid waste).

In addition, guayule thrives in hot, dry ecosystems where many other biofuel crops wouldn't grow well. The hardy shrub requires less fertilizer than other crops currently produced in the desert Southwest. Even though a few herbicides are needed while the plants are getting established, once that happens, there's no need for more—or for chemicals that target harmful insects, fungi, or worms called nematodes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220183706.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, March 7). Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220183706.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220183706.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins