Airports Growing Biofuel Crops
Biofuels have garnered much attention recently, and rightly so. With the soaring costs of gasoline, aviation biofuels are the obvious choice for airlines to replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from air travel. One of the major concerns though is being able to keep up with supply and demand when it comes to crops grown for biofuel production, and the land use this would require. This is why many airports are now exploring the potential of developing airport-owned property for bioenergy production. In fact, last year MSU partnered with Wayne County Airport Authority to grow, harvest, and process biomass crops on airport owned land. Many of those opposed to biofuel production cite that farmers would need to devote vast amounts of acreage to crops such as oilseed rape, maize, sugar cane and oil palms; severely limiting or completely deleting land used for food crops. Using nontraditional lands such as the fallow land running alongside airports and highways to grow crops to produce biofuels could potentially alleviate such concerns and eventually provide new business and employment opportunities, while freeing us from foreign oil use.