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Friday, August 7, 2009 - 9:06am

A Popular Ornamental Grass Could Impact Georgia's Biofuel Industry

A popular ornamental grass could have a big impact on Georgia's biofuel and agriculture industries.

Miscanthus Giganteous is also known as Elephant Grass.

People in Georgia like to plant it in their yards. It's a perennial, high in cellulose, and grows quickly. That makes it perfect for use in biofuels.

Already popular in Europe and Canada, a Canadian farmer is now growing it on a farm in Tifton.

Dean Tiessen is with BiUS Renewable Energy. He says Georgia's climate is perfect for Miscanthus.

"We are seeing multiplication rates down in ths Southeast much, much higher than we could see anywhere in probably the U.S."

Tiessen says the species; native to Asia is a relative of sugar cane. It is also non-invasive because this variety is sterile does not produce seeds. Researchers at the University of Georgia are also looking at the plants use as a biofuel with a $1.2 million grant from the United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Agriculture.