Duckweed Does Double Duty: Cleans Up Waste Water, Makes Great Biofuel

duckweed photo

Duckweed, a small aquatic plant which is an important food source for waterfowl, can also be used to clean up waste water at industrial pig farms and as a good feedstock for biofuels, researchers from North Carolina State University say:Grown on nutrient rich wastewater, such as in these industrial farming operations (or potentially in municipal wastewater) duckweed can produce 5-6 times the starch per acre as does corn. And it could be converted to ethanol in the same facilities as corn ethanol.

Researchers say that a duckweed production system would consist of shallow ponds, potentially built on lands unsuitable for other crops, and cleans the water to such a degree that it could be re-used for other purposes.

A pilot-scale project is currently being established to further investigate the potential of duckweed for both water treatment and biofuels.

Leaving aside issues of the treatment of animals in these sort of facilities (which in the long run I don't think can be overlooked), this is an interesting development. However, I wonder if in practice it makes sense to build ponds specifically for duckweed production rather than just using it in existing facilities that require this sort of wastewater treatment.

via: Biofuels Digest, Thaindian
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