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Grassohol – biofuel from grass

A ‘Grassohol’ research project is underway in Wales to develop commercially and economically viable processes to make ethanol biofuel from perennial ryegrass – the most commonly sown grass in the UK which is normally used for grazing or silage.

Ryegrasses with high extractable sugar contents will be utilised in the biofuel project which will examine the best methods of extracting and fermenting the sugar and of maximising yields and rates of ethanol biofuel production.

The dried residue after fermentation and distillation is rich in protein and has the potential to be converted into animal feed, says the Welsh Assembly Government.

One hectare of grassland could produce up to 4500 litres of ethanol biofuel and it is envisaged that local refineries could be established on farms at a similar scale of production to wine co-operatives.

The biofuel project is led by the recently formed Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, Wales, which has incorporated the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research.

The research includes an industrial collaboration between IBERS and two Welsh companies - Aber Instruments and the Wynnstay Group - for which the Institute has received £154,000 funding from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme.

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