But it is also important to consider how much energy goes into the process, a component that is often neglected, says Tony Grift, professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.
Grift is co-author on a new study, published in Bioresource Technology Reports, that takes a look at the bioconversion efficiency of two products often used as biomass for energy production, miscanthus giganteus and sugarcane bagasse.
The two materials were chosen because of their importance for energy production.
Miscanthus is typically grown as an ornamental crop, but it has a high amount of biomass and grows easily with very little nitrogen use.
Sugarcane bagasse is the byproduct left over after sugarcane is crushed to extract the juice for sugar.
The study was done in collaboration with chemists from University of California at Berkeley.