Written by Arturo Velez.

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Agave Project is a Mexican initiative to produce next generation biofuels from agave biomass. Currently, Agave Project is being developed in twenty countries. I'd like to put my Agave Project for the Southwest, USA under your consideration.
Many Agave species are native to Southwestern USA,  our most promising species.  On a yearly basis,  yields over 10,000 gallons of ethanol per hectare per year, or 4,500 gallons of pyrolysis oil, or 42 tons of industrial glucose (C5,C6), or ~5,000 gallons of drop-in fuels. If commercial agave plantations were established on all the marginal dry land in Southern USA –agave even thrives on acidic and salty soils and on steep hills-, current dry biomass availability could be tripled in just a few years, fostering massive biofuels production and sustainable development, making America’s energy future secure, while generating millions of jobs and combating climate change.

Agave uses soil, water and light most efficiently among all plants. One hectare of agave annually yields 5X more dry biomass than the GMO poplar tree (in the USA); 3X more sugars than sugarcane (in Brazil); and 4X more cellulose than the fastest growing eucalyptus (in Mexico), capturing 5X more CO2 than the most productive natural ecosystem. Since agave thrives on marginal arid and semiarid land, it doesn't compete with food, nor disrupts food prices. Agave doesn't need irrigation -Agave one of our most promising species, can live with as little as 190 mm of rain per year-, nor agrochemicals. Agave can be used as food, feed, and feedstock for the production of tens of renewable chemicals, bioproducts, biomaterials and biofuels. For its higher annual yield of dry biomass per hectare (40T to 65T+), lower cost of production (US$2,500 to US$3,500 /Ha/Yr), exponential reproductive capacity (one agave individual can produce up to one million new Sprouts during its lifetime!) and higher quality of biomass (62% cellulose content and 2.4 lignin content), agave is the ideal feedstock for an integrated biorefinery. No other plant or tree in the world has such potential... and we can grow on the marginal semiarid land of the Southwestern States, with currently very low biomass availability.

Arturo Velez

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