10 Top Biofuel Crops



When it comes to ethanol production in the United States, wheat is corn's ugly stepsister. While refineries produce ethanol from various types of "feedstock," including wheat and barley, roughly 90 percent of America's ethanol comes from corn. Ethanol is mainly used to power motor vehicles and is often blended with gasoline. In Europe, however, using wheat as an energy crop is on the rise. Great Britain's first wheat-based ethanol plant, which opened in 2010, is expected to produce 106 million gallons (4 million liters) of the biofuel each year. The company expects to use about 1.2 million tons (907.18 kilograms) of wheat annually [source: Bakhsh]. Many people are concerned that growing wheat as an energy crop will divert the grains needed for food. Researchers from the University of Illinois say food prices spike when farmers grow wheat and corn for use as a biofuel.