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Sorghum, the Next Big Investment in Advanced Biofuels

Grain sorghum is poised to become the first official advanced biofuel and the next big biofuel investment to watch closely, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares for its final approval of the grain for ethanol production. 

Sorghum has many advantages and investors should take note of the recent leaps made towards advanced biofuel status. Most significantly, sorghum is versatile, providing starch, sugar and lignocellulose, and it has maturation period of only four months and can thrive in poorer soil. Unlike corn, it also does not compete with food crops, while environmentally, its footprint is rather small.

The EPA has all but given sorghum the green light in preliminary report on 25 May, which examines the impact of increased grain sorghum harvesting for ethanol production on US agriculture, the world market and the environment. So far so good. If the EPA gives its final approval, which is expected early this summer, grain sorghum will be officially approved as an advanced biofuel in line with the country’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) goals.

The EPA has concluded that increased grain sorghum harvesting and diversion for ethanol production will not have a significant negative impact on agriculture or the world market. It has also studied the completed lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) resulting from the process of producing ethanol from grain sorghum, concluding that the GHG emissions would be 32% less than gasoline, and…

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