Using invasive plants for biofuel production to fund ecological restoration

This 2007 web page by John Thompson lists Invasive Biofuel Species. Also included is a 2011 article nominating kudzu as a biofuel candidate. Funds derived from such biofuels could be used to restore more ecosystems by removing exotics and invasives.

REVITALIZATION readers familiar with the current use of invasive species for biofuel production are invited use the Comments section below to share their insights on the current state the technology.

Here is updated partial list of plant species which are or have been under consideration as possible bio-fuel sources. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a quick scan of the first twenty pages of a “Google” search using the phrase “biofuel species”.

The economic benefits of bio-fuel species are large, but considered with in a short term time frame. The long term challenges may collide with the short term benefits “…because traits deemed ideal in a bio-energy crop are also commonly found among invasive species (note the following).”

  • C4 photosynthesis;
  • Long canopy duration;
  • Perennial;
  • No known pests or diseases;
  • Rapid growth in spring (to out-compete weeds);
  • Sterility;
  • High water-use efficiency;
  • Partitions nutrients to below-ground components in the fall

Photo of kudzu on trees in Atlanta, Georgia via Wikipedia Commons.

See 2007 list.

See 2011 kudzu article.

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