最近能源作物公司喜瑞士（Ceres, Inc.）及美國德州農工大學德州農業研究站（Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, TAES）已經達成商業協定，開始進行高產量高粱物種的聯合研究。
TAES的植物科學家朗尼博士（Dr. Bill Rooney）表示，高粱幾乎是生產纖維素生質燃料最理想的作物，它產量高，是天生的耐旱植物，並且能在玉米或其他糧食作物無法正常生長的地方繁生。
American cars and trucks may soon be fueled with sorghum. Not used widely as a food grain in the United States, sorghum is one of the five top cereal crops in the world, along with wheat, oats, corn, and barley. It was cultivated in Egypt in ancient times, and Africa still is the largest producer of sorghum today.
Now, energy crop company Ceres, Inc. and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station of the Texas A&M University system have entered into a joint research and commercial agreement for high biomass sorghum.
These plants are not designed to produce grain, although they do produce it. The real value is that sorghum can be bred to produce vast amounts of biomass, the raw material for cellulosic biofuels made from stems, stalks and leaves.
Presently, sorghum-to-ethanol production uses the grain part of the plant, but the leaves and stalks hold the greatest potential for biofuel production, says Peter Mascia, Ceres vice president of product development.
He says new technologies are making it possible to utilize the carbohydrates found in plant cell walls, called cellulose, to make cellulosic ethanol.
"As these technologies mature, farmers will transition from growing as much grain per acre to producing as much biomass as they can per acre, with as little energy and agronomic inputs as possible. This means new crops and specialized hybrids like these high-biomass sorghum types will be needed," Mascia said.
Plant scientist Dr. Bill Rooney of the A&M System's Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, TAES, says that sorghum is a near-ideal crop for cellulosic biofuels.
"Sorghum produces high yields, is naturally drought tolerant and can thrive in places that do not support corn and other food crops, "he said.