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.

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 July 28, 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 July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? 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:
from the past week

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