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GEN News Highlights : Mar 6, 2009

Performance Plants Secures $4.3M to Develop Technology to Improve Biofuel Production

Funding will accelerate company's enhanced conversion, biomass enhancement, and water use efficiency technologies.

Performance Plants (PPI) will receive C$5.56 million, or about $4.3 million, from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to fund the company's development of enhanced conversion technology (ECT), which alters plant cell walls to improve the conversion of cellulose into biofuels.

The funding will also support the acceleration of PPI's biomass enhancement and water use efficiency technologies. These technologies will be combined with ECT to reduce costs by increasing feedstock yield-per-hectare of land.

"Current assessments for the North American biofuels market indicate that over 1 billion tons of dry biomass per year will be required to switch current petroleum consumption to 30% renewable fuels," says Peter Matthewman, president of PPI. "Nonfood, purpose-grown energy crops can provide the yield-per-hectare necessary to sustainably and cost-efficiently support a new clean energy industrial sector."

PPI's next generation of nonfood biofuel crops will focus on switch grass, Miscanthus, sorghum, and hemp, which can be grown on marginal land with limited fertilizer and water requirements, says the company.