‘Tension wood’ could raise efficiency of biofuels

New research into the nature of “tension wood” could help spur the development of more efficient bioenergy crops.

Tension wood forms in hardwood trees under stress and has a special type of cell wall which is more than 90% cellulose. Normal wood is composed of between 40 and 55% cellulose.

Higher cellulose content in bioenergy feedstocks can mean the ability to extract more sugars. These sugars are fermented into alcohol for use as a biofuel.

While several studies have looked at individual elements of tension wood before, the new study is the first to systematically characterise tension wood and its ability to release sugar.

Read more at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (US)