Another New Alternative to Fossil Fuels: Sunflowers

Image: milena mihaylova

Written by new contributor Chris Bowler

In the race to produce the best alternative to fossil fuels, there could soon be a new contender – sunflowers. Although already used to produce oil and biodiesel, some scientists believe these tall, colorful flowers can be used to produce ethanol as well.

The silverleaf and Algodones dune varieties are both being looked at due to their size – each can grow to be as tall as 21 feet, producing a significant amount of biomass that could be converted to ethanol. But, both varieties are wild so it will take some time for domestication to occur. University of Georgia scientists are studying the genes of each to measure the feasibility of affordable production.

So while it’s not yet guaranteed that sunflowers can be a viable alternative, it’s another step in the right direction.

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