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Second generation fuels are made from inedible parts of the plant and thus do not compete with the food supply.
Currently, most of the ethanol in the U.S. comes from corn seed and is produced in a process that is very similar to brewing beer from barley or rice. However, because people and animals consume corn there is the potential for competition between food supply and ethanol production. Second generation biofuels are produced using plant cell walls rather than starchy grains used to produce ethanol or other biofuels.
The most promising biofuels include a number of grass species such as Miscanthus and switchgrass that produce large quantities of plant material in a single growing season. These grasses are also perennial and require much less fertilizer than traditional grain crops and can be grown on less productive soils. Thus, second-generation biofuels represent a sustainable energy resource that complements our existing corn/sugarcane- based biofuel feedstocks.
Learn more about biofuels and our Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels here.
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