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Producing Ethanol and Biodiesel from Tobacco

12 May 2011

US - A company based in Virginia is using genetically modified tobacco as a feedstock to produce both ethanol and biodiesel.

Plant sciences company, Tyton BioSciences, focuses on engineering plants for industrial applications and in particular the design and production of superior feedstock for biofuels.

The company is based on technology developed at The Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories established by one of Tyton’s founders, Dr Hilary Koprowski.

The company says its new genetically modified tobacco can make both ethanol and biodiesel from the same plant at higher yields per acre than most other sustainable fuel crops – especially corn and soy.

It says that one acre of tobacco can replace between eight to 12 acres of corn and soy.

And the by-products from producing ethanol and biodiesel are glycerine, F1 proteins for animal fed and nitrogen rich by products for fertiliser.

The developers say that the crops have an advantage because they are a non-food crop and they have a low lignin content that allows the sugars to be released more easily.

The biomass is also processed green and does not need curing.

TheCropSite News Desk

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