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Wouldn’t it be great to find a fuel that powers our cars and planes without polluting the environment or warming up our planet? Fuels made from plants, like corn or sugarcane, called “biofuels,” appeared to be more climate-friendly than burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, it turns out that many biofuels are no better, if not worse, than their fossil fuel counterparts in their impact on our climate. This is because they use up more fossil fuels in their production than they were meant to save! We wanted to see if we could change that and find a more climate-friendly way to produce biofuels. And we did! We found two promising candidates that we tested in field experiments in Hawaii. We showed that a conservation-oriented production method (no tillage, less water, less fertilizer) and good crop selection are crucial for producing better biofuels.

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