Who says gas doesn’t grow on trees?

The Fort Collins Coloradoan is reporting that a professor at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) may have found part of the answer to the U.S. energy crisis … in trees, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade thinks he may be on to something.

Chhandak Basu, assistant professor at UNC’s school of biological sciences is studying the possibilities to be found in the copaiba, more commonly known as the diesel tree.

The tree, which can only be grown in quantity in a tropical climate, produces oleoresin, which can easily be converted into biofuel.

While the tropical tree doesn’t seem to immediately mesh with the dry climate of Colorado, Basu hopes to genetically modify native plants to produce the promising substance.

Noting the controversy currently raging about ethanol and the price of corn, Basu says he would only focus on modifying non-food plants.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has given $49,643 to further the research, and UNC has promised matching funds.

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Bob Spencer

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