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The economics of biomass-to-ethanol are projected to be more attractive than current crops, which are helping establish the biofuels industry.
For example, the corn seed industry says that a national average yield of 300 bushels per acre is possible. Combined with refining improvements and the use of corn stover (averaging 4 tons per acre), an acre would yield about 1,300 gallons of ethanol (900 from the corn grain and 400 from the stover).
However, even when this goal is reached, energy crops will remain the more productive alternative. By the time we reach 300bu/acre for corn, energy crop yields will also have improved substantially – we believe up to 20 tons per acre. At the same conversion ratio of 100 gallons per ton, a 20-ton per acre energy crop will yield 2,000 gallons.