Experts See Increasing Energy from Sugar
GUATEMALA CITY Sweets and soda pop are far from the only ways to get an energy jolt out of sugar.
Experts who gathered here this week for a conference on sugar technology said they were coaxing more power from cane, either before or after it's been squeezed of sugar.
"In the future, we will stop thinking of mills as sugar factories and think instead of energy factories," said Mario Melgar, director general of the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training in Sugarcane, which hosted the worldwide conference.
Countries such as Brazil and Colombia are encouraging the use of sugar-based ethanol as a partial replacement for some petroleum-based fuel, helping curb spending on imports and often helping to cut pollution.
And mills in many countries are expanding their use of burned sugarcane waste as way of creating heat to generate electricity.
Speaking to reporters, Melgar said that developments such as those should push sugar cultivation to about 40 million hectares (100 million acres) from the current 23 million hectares (57 million acres) within 20 years.
Melgar also said that researchers have mapped out about 40 percent of the genome of sugarcane as part of an international project. The idea is to help improve and adapt crops to their environments.
Source: Associated Press