Monday, August 4, 2008

Ceres, Inc.

For any cellulosic ethanol industry to take off, there needs to be an abundant, biomass intense area from which to cultivate the plant material. The great hope is that this will not only pertain to areas already covered in biomass, such as corn-stalks or forested areas in the Southeastern United States, but that this will allow for the development of crops that can be grow in many areas of the US that are not hospitable to current agricultural growth. This includes the ultra-arid Southwestern United States where the development of a perennial crop could produce a valuable crop on marginal land but also would hopefully improve the land in the process by decreases soil erosion as well as providing a more humid environment where more rain development might occur.

A company called Ceres Inc. is trying to establish this idea of optimum energy crops for each region of the United States. To do this they have sequenced many of the genomes of switchgrass, miscanthus, and other plants and have then used selective breeding technologies to isolate varieties of the plant that match different areas, such as the desert Southwest.

Here is a map and diagram of their outlook for the next several years:

Go to the website shown above for more information about the crop varieties listed above.

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