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Apr 01, 2017 05:15 PM EDT

Ghent University Study Turns Grass Into Airplane Fuel Called 'Grassoline'


Otherwise known as "grassoline", researchers at Ghent University discovered a new way to turn grass into biofuel. This finding will soon provide more sustainable and nature-friendly aviation vehicles. What type of grass was used?

According to Science Daily, scientist Way Cern Khor explained that abundance is one factor that makes grass a highly potent source of energy. For years, weed has served as food for animals we eat. Thus, he spent his PhD research at Ghent University looking for methods to treat grass until it can be used as gas.

First, the study made use of the Switchgrass, a perennial warm-season plant native to North America. Pretreatment is needed to improve the material's biodegradability. A certain type of bacteria was then added to convert the sugar in the grass into lactic acid.

Apparently, this lactic acid triggers the production of biodegradable plastics, commonly referred to as fuel. It will eventually be converted into caproic acid and then into decane. The last product can be used to power airplanes.

While this research posed remarkable results, a lot of work still needs to be done before "grassoline" hits the market. For one thing, the extracted fuel from Switchgrass is nothing more than a "few drops". Apparently, this is due to the lavish cost of the experiment and engines still need to be configured for this new fuel.

Khor noted that "in a few years" people could start "flying on grass." The expert says they welcome any help coming from the business sector. In this way, the production costs may be reduced, allowing more drops of biofuel.

Well, literally, grass has been denoted as "fuel" in the fire-fighting scene of Southern Arizona per AZ Public Media. However, of course, what these firemen are talking about is that more grass causes more fires to ignite and spread quickly. In a sense, though, grass really is a potential fuel.

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