In the largest field trial of its kind in the United States, researchers have determined that the giant perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus outperforms current biofuels sources -- by a lot. Using Miscanthus as a feedstock for ethanol production in the U.S. could significantly reduce the acreage dedicated to biofuels while meeting government biofuels production goals, the researchers report.

"Keep in mind that this Miscanthus is completely unimproved, so if we were to do the sorts of things that we've managed to do with corn, where we've increased its yield threefold over the last 50 years, then it's not unreal to think that we could use even less than 10 percent of the available agricultural land." -- Professor Stephen P. Long, Deputy Director, Energy Biosciences Institute, University of Illinios