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Prickly pear for biofuels

Prickly pear for biofuels

With high yields, low environmental impact and little competition with food chain, prickly pear could make an excellent biofuel feedstock

Biofuels have had a long and rather troubled history.

They are an effective replacement for fossil fuels and can transition us to a low carbon transport future without having to change the entire infrastructure, as is necessary for electric vehicles. However, the current feedstock for biofuels present many challenges for large scale commercialization.

The prickly pear has been investigated as a source of biofuel. Their high water use efficiency enable them to grow in soil and climates unfavourable for most plant species, and they have reasonably good yields.

A Mexican company has been converting prickly pear into methane last few years. Other efforts could accelerate commercialization of this rather neglected plant.

An enticing prospect indeed.

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