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Alkol Signs Sgreement with Universidad Politécnica for Sugarcane in Spain

17 March 2014

SPAIN - Spanish bioenergy consultant Alkol has signed an agreement for scientific research with UPM - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, for the development of a new hybrid of sugarcane for Spain.

Alkol already had an agreement with a Brazilian company which specialises in the development of new varieties of sugarcane.

This Brazilian company was responsible for the creation of the "RB" varieties which today occupy over 60 per cent of all planted area in Brazil.

Now Alkol has assisted the School of Forestry - ETSI of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with its expertise and scientific prestige in Europe to join forces with thef the Brazilian company to use the scientific techniques available in the University in a collaborative environment.

According to José Antonio Manzanera, Professor at UPM ETSIM: "As Professor of the School of Forestry, I wish to express my support for the Project for the Development of a new hybrid variety of sugar cane. I consider this centre able to provide scientific knowledge and expertise in cross-pollination experiments in the classical method of plant breeding by crossing and selection"

Al Costa, CEO of Alkol said: "We are pleased to have a leading centre as is the UPM ETSI participating in our project.

“This project is different in Spain among all renewable energy projects as it requires no subsidies and that it will bring foreign expertise. Whether we like it or not, biofuels are the only alternative to existing materials and fossil fuels.

“This variety of sugarcane will be the main source of biomass in the European biofuels policy of 2020, and it takes the advantage that, in Europe, only in Spain sugarcane can grow"

The new sugarcane hybrid will have more fibre, be more resistant to the lack of water, and will offer yields of up to 200 tonnes per hectare (the currently used biomass options usually do not go over 40 tonnes per hectare).

Its high fibre content will make it easier to remove the sugars necessary for producing cellulosic ethanol, and all that will mean a lower priced ethanol which does not depend on subsidies or import barriers to compete with Brazil's or USA's cheaper ones.

The project is hoping to develop new variety as soon as possible and to have it ready for the "generational blackout" scheduled for 2020, when Europe is expected to demand the use of this type of biomass.

TheCropSite News Desk

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