As athletes were racing for the gold in Beijing last week, representatives from the United States and China were in Texas teaming up in the race to develop new feedstocks for ethanol.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China signed an agreement to collaborate on biofuels research during the International Conference on Sorghum for Biofuel in Houston.
The agreement establishes the intent to “cooperate in establishing processes and infrastructure for conversion of sweet sorghum and other feedstocks to ethanol.” It also encourages collaboration among scientists worldwide to contribute to alternative energy research through the development of alternative feedstocks. It was signed by USDA Undersecretary Dr. Gale Buchanan and Dr. Liu Yanhua, vice minister of science and technology for the Peoples’ Republic of China.
“I think that if we are going to achieve sustainable energy security in this country we have to consider all opportunities and sorghum is one of those that I think can make a contribution.” Buchanan said. He added that sorghum has potential because of its drought tolerance and ability to produce high yields on marginal lands.
National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust said the conference was a major step for the sorghum industry. “The world is taking notice of this crop in a big way and this conference is a meeting of the minds, so to speak, of some of the finest scientists and entrepreneurs in the world. We will all need to work together to solve the energy crisis and this meeting moves us in the right direction.”
See more photos from the event on the NSP blog here.