There has been a lot of development in bioenergy in many countries in recent years and Advanta is committed to assisting in the future success of this emerging industry.
Widespread industry opinion indicates that world biofuel requirement will increase from the current 45 billion litres to 80 billion litres by 2012. The concern of global warming, rapidly rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, security of fossil fuel reserves and responsibilities by governments will all contribute to further production of alternative forms of energy. Many governments now have mandates for renewable fuel blending and most countries will require at least 10% by 2010.
Grain based ethanol production is currently producing about half of the current output and most of the balance is sourced from sugar cane. Further increase in biofuel production from grain is not sustainable in the medium to long term so research and is now focusing on second and third generation technology such as Advanced and Cellulosic to provide the feedstock for the future.
For Advanta, the development of the bioenergy business is aimed at developing new business from our own breeding programme as well as introductions and technology developments from other research projects.
In particular, high sugar and biomass producing crops such as sweet and forage sorghum fit very well with current and new technology being used in factories to produce ethanol. Sorghum is highly suitable for the tougher dryland growing areas and has the ability to produce very high yields with irrigation and high rainfall. It is anticipated that sorghum will be one of the key growth areas to meet future demand for feedstock for ethanol production. The benefits of sorghum for ethanol production include:
- highly suitable for the tougher dryland growing areas
- produces very high yields with irrigation and high rainfall
- range of different types for ethanol production
- Grain for starch fermentation.
- Sweet sorghum for juice and sugar fermentation.
- Forage sorghum with high biomass production for future cellulosic ethanol production.
- BMR sweet and forage sorghums with low lignin for the ultimate ethanol production combination.
Globally, there is a lot of interest in sweet sorghum as a feed stock for ethanol production. As well as India, Advanta has affiliated sorghum breeding programs in Australia, The United States and Argentina which have produced a number of high yielding, high sugar and high juice extraction hybrids. These are highly suitable as an ethanol feedstock and also for livestock production as well. As new technology for ethanol production develops to utilize cellulose, sweet and forage sorghums with very high biomass production combined with high sugar and low lignin (bmr types) are ideal for this purpose.
Bio-diesel is also taking off and hopefully will lead to mustard, canola and sunflower being used in its production. There are a lot of opportunities for agriculture and bioenergy and Advanta and its associated companies are spending a lot of time and effort researching hybrids and farming systems to develop the industry further.