BIOFUELS – FROM THE STUBBLE
Around one fifth of the volume of petrol used in Australia, could be replaced with biofuels which are made from the stubble left over from wheat grain harvesting, according to the researchers at the CSIRO in Canberra, Australia. To protect soil, retain soil carbon and reducing evaporation, stubble has to remain in the ground. "Stubble is probably one of the more widely distributed feedstocks that is currently available. Using waste stubble would avoid having to allocate precious food-producing land to produce biofuels. And using it would also avoid having to introduce exotic and potential weedy species" according to Dr. Michael Dunlop of CSIRO. The figures of wheat, barley, canola, lupins, oats to name a few, were analyzed by the studies of the researchers. It's important to consider the energy to grow, harvest and process biofuel feedstock. Using waste stubble could help minimize extra energy because the energy has been put to grow the grain and process into biofuel. The production of soil health will depend on the amount of stubble available which will vary between 4 to 400 tonnes.
The infrastructure required for harvesting, collecting and distributing the stubble as a feedstock is similar to that used for grains, and it does not require a massive additional infrastructure.
Biomass feedstocks such as forestry residues and mallee corps are undergoing research.
Investigative work on biofuel is most welcome. At the same time it is necessary to take care that land for food production is adequately protected.
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