The agave plant could be the key to producing clean transport fuels and hand sanitisers.
That’s the suggestion made in new research led by the University of Exeter, which has found the plant to be adaptable to semi-arid Australia – they say it could provide a ‘green’ solution to the country’s transport fuel shortage.
The plant is now being grown as a biofuel source on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland.
The tequila-producing plant could also be used to make ethanol for hand sanitisers, to meet high demand amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Associate Professor at the Sydney Institute of Agriculture Daniel Tan, said: “The agave plant is an environmentally-friendly crop that we can grow to produce ethanol-based fuels and healthcare products.
“It can grow in semi-arid areas without irrigation and it does not compete with food crops or put demands on limited water and fertiliser supplies.”
The study suggests that the plant requires 69% less water than sugarcane, making it a more suited source for biofuel than sugarcane and corn.