Giant reed seen as biofuel – or another kudzu disaster

Intentional introduction of energy crops may create the next invasive species catastrophe

It’s fast-growing and drought-tolerant, producing tons of biomass per acre. It thrives even in poor soil and is a self-propagating perennial, so it requires little investment once established.

To people in the renewable fuels industry, Arundo donax – also known as “giant reed” – is nothing short of a miracle plant. An Oregon power plant is looking at it as a potential substitute for coal, and North Carolina boosters are salivating over the prospect of an ethanol bio-refinery that would bring millions of dollars in investment and dozens of high-paying jobs to hog country.

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Tags: invasiveness, intentional introduction, nasty plant, energy grasses, weed risk analysis, sprayfields, renewable fuel standard program


NBC News, 2012-11-17.


Biofuels Center of North Carolina
Chemtex Group
Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO)
North Carolina State University
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
US Department of Energy (DoE)


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