Betting on a niche that's still in embryonic state, Sykué Bioenergya, a Brazilian company dedicated to producing energy from biological sources, invested R$140m in a power plant that's fueled by elephant-grass.

Elephant grass is a plant that vaguely resembles sugarcane. The resemblance is not restricted to the visual aspects: elephant grass also possesses relevant potential for producing energy. Sykué Bioenergya, a Brazilian company dedicated to producing energy from biological sources, sees a promising niche in it and is investing R$140m (about US$80m) in a power plant fueled by its dry biomass.

The possible benefits of producing energy from elephant grass are many. For one, the lifecycle of the plant is very short: harvest takes place merely six months after seeding. Moreover, it produces 40 tons of biomass per hectare of crop, while sugarcane produces roughly between 15-20 tons, and eucalyptus produces between 10-15 tons in the same area. Elephant grass is also easier on the soil: it grows on earth that's not rich in nutrients and is not nearly as demanding as eucalyptus in terms of water.

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