How will we fuel the future? As a leading public research university, the University of Arizona is working hard to answer this question through pioneering research in alternative fuels. Here in the Sonoran Desert, researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are looking into bio-fuel crops that can be grown in arid areas.
View the YouTube Video - "Sweet Sorghum: From Fields to Fuel"
“Sweet Sorghum in some ways is similar to corn,” says Don Slack, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. “But it’s a much more drought tolerant, heat tolerant plant.”
Through the research in Slack’s lab, he and his graduate students are finding better ways to grow the plants and optimize their production of juice, which is then fermented into ethanol.
“This project is a pilot project,” he says, “which means that we move it beyond the laboratory into the field.” They are looking at how their methods scale to the field to see if they represent viable ways of growing bio-fuel and bio-energy crops in the bright, dry environment of Southern Arizona.