UNR Highlights: Desert Bio-Fuels

Dr. Hongfei Lin is studying plants that grow in dry climates that can be used for creating biofuels. This is ideal for a state like Nevada that has plenty of unused space, but not very much water.

Gumweed naturally grows in desert regions like Nevada and has a high oil-content, making it a good candidate for bio-fuel production.

Hongfei and other professors are working together to find ways to create sustainable chemical production, including fuel chemicals, among other things. According to estimates, if Hongfei’s project continues to completion, up to 20% of the US military’s fuel needs can be met using biofuels. It is also estimated that if just 10% of Nevada’s sagebrush lands were used to grow gumweed (one such dry region plant), that 400-600 million gallons of aviation fuel per year could be produced from the gumweed!

A close-up view of the gumweed plant, also known as Grindelia.

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