Turning brownfields green with biofuel crops

Maybe finding those extra 10 million acres to grow America's biofuel crops won't be all that difficult. Not if the results of Michigan State University (MSU) professor Kurt Thelen's research come out right. Thelen is looking at ways to grow corn (for ethanol), soybean, sunflower and canola (for biodiesel) on brownfields, polluted former industrial sites. The possible ecological benefits are twofold, Thelen said. First, the crops are likely to be healthy enough to use as fuel and replace some fossil fuels. Second, the plants will clean up the polluted soil through bioremediation. This will make the grains and oil too toxic for humans to eat.

"Michigan, being an industrial state, unfortunately has a legacy of brownfields," Thelen told the Lansing State Journal. "So we thought, here's an opportunity to take a negative and turn it into a positive, to grow something productive on an area that's really a wasteland."

[Source: Lansing State Journal, Renewable Energy Access]

Share This Photo X