Energy crop producer Ceres Inc. plans to market its new agricultural seeds and traits under the trade name Blade Energy Crops in the U.S. The first products to be sold under the brand are currently being multiplied for spring 2009 sowing. They include switchgrass cultivars developed specifically for biofuels, EG 1101 and EG 1102, as well as high-biomass types of sorghum.
Because of their high yields, energy crops can produce more fuel per acre than first-generation biofuel crops and further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions since the new crops require fewer inputs and actually build new topsoil. Ethanol made from switchgrass produces 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum and nearly five times more net energy than starch-based ethanol. Further improvements are likely as breeders introduce new seed varieties and innovations in refining technology are commercialized.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.