Researchers have identified a new way to produce aviation fuel from sugarcane biomass that could deliver substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The source crops could be grown on marginal land, avoiding displacing food production, the team observed.

They added the development of renewable liquid fuels was critical to reduce global reliance on petroleum and help mitigate climate change. The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Biofuel sweetspot

“We’ve identified a new route of chemistry with its source from sugars in sugarcane plus some of the so-called waste material called bagasse,” said co-author Alexis Bell from the University of California, Berkeley, US. “We show in this paper how we can put these components together to make jet diesel and lubricants.”
The development of a reliable biofuel that can be scaled up to a level that be used by the world’s commercial airlines has proved somewhat elusive.

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