Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment claims using agave plants, also used to make sisal, are ideal biofuel fodder as it grows on marginal agricultural land, in a report released today (July 28).

And crucially, according to academics, will have only a ‘limited’ impact on global food production and biodiversity.

Large-scale biofuel production, particularly in the US, has been criticised in view of mounting concerns over its associated pressure and impact on food production in already volatile global markets.

Smith School of Enterprise postdoctoral researcher, Xiaoyu Yan, said: “Our analysis highlights the promising opportunities for bioenergy production from agaves in arid or semi-arid regions, causing minimum pressure on food production and water resources.

“The results suggest that ethanol derived from agave is likely to be superior, or at least comparable, to that from corn, switchgrass and sugarcane in terms of energy and GHG balances, net GHG offset per unit land area, as well as ethanol output.”

Luke Walsh

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