A Japanese company is planning on building a bioethanol making the green fuel from a plant that is said to yield more ethanol per hectare than any other biofuel crop currently being grown.
This story posted on Checkbiotech.org says Necfer Corp. will make ethanol from sago palm trees at a testing refinery in Malaysia:
Necfer has developed its own dedicated fermentation technology to convert the resource into biofuel.The true sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) has been described as mankind’s oldest food plant with the starch contained in the trunk used as a staple food in southeast Asia. Traditionally, hunter-gatherers use a complex and labor-intensive process of felling the tree, splitting it open, removing the starch and cleaning out its poisonous substances, after which it is ready to be consumed. The carbohydrate itself is very nutritious and some of us may have even tasted it because some modern starch products (tapioca flour) are made from it. As these sago-growing hunter-gatherers migrate to the cities, they abandon their healthy starch-rich diet and choose for fat and sugar food habits that don’t differ much from ours.
Sago palm is estimated to yield between about 2,000 and 2,500 gallons of ethanol for each hectare grown… even more than sugarcane.