Iowa Public Television


Natural Synthetic

posted on July 19, 2002

Feed, fuel and plastic … from alfalfa.

Government scientists are working to convert alfalfa into the first dual use biofuel plant.

The leaf of the plant serves as a factory for raw biodegradable plastic beads and other industrial products … while the stem goes to ethanol production.

Researchers say they've created the "parents" for new alfalfa plants by crossing European varieties with thick stems … and modern varieties developed for dairy feed. The thick stems provide more raw material for ethanol production.

Tags: ethanol news plants plastic