DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Crop of maize (Zea mays). Maize is an example of a crop that can act as a green energy feedstock. First generation biofuels used components of the crop (sap from sugar cane, or cobs from maize) as a feedstock to produce bioethanol, a liquid fuel that can be added to petrol. This practice has been subject to criticism due to the perceived effect on world commodity prices; the same plant products being used for fuel as were previously used for food. Second generation biofuels are designed to circumvent this criticism. Crops such as maize produce large amounts of waste material at harvest; the entire plant, less the crop of corn cobs, is a waste product. Current research in biofuels is intended to be able to use this material as a feedstock for bio-ethanol production. The crop shown here was harvested for human consumption, 10 days after the photograph was taken. Photographed in Norfolk, UK, in August.
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