A small group of Mexican scientists is working to create a massive agave-to-ethanol project that one says could supply the entire US need of 36 billion gallons by 2022, Renewable Energy World reports. The agave, used to make tequila and mescal, is high in sugar, resilient, and needs little cultivation, making it a prime candidate for ethanol production.
With an acre of agave producing perhaps five times the ethanol of an acre of corn, Mexico’s national ecology institute has recently stepped in to offer provisional assistance for the plan, which could result in cultivation of almost 20 million acres. The scientists are experimenting with different varieties, hoping to create enormous, uniform and sugar-rich specimens to be included in a national registry. (Read more agave stories.)