Venezuelan entrepreneur and trade expert, leonardogonzalezdellan, has touted for the development of Azolla, known as mosquito fern or water fern, for the economy of Latin America. According to the businessman, investing in the growth of this aquatic fern will not only move forward the sustainable biofuel industry in Latin America, it’ll also help the region in staying competitive when it comes to the newly emerging biofuels market.
The aquatic fern, which has been discovered by recent studies to have multiple potential uses; as a feedstock for biofuel, biofertilizer and manure for agricultural purposes, feed supplement for both aquatic and terrestrial species, food for humans, medicine, water purifier, and, as a nod to one of its name, a method for pest and mosquito control. It’s myriad of uses have led some researchers to call it a ‘green gold mine’, waiting to be used.
Azolla grows in water, even in the otherwise unsuitable conditions of wastewater, with one of its more recently discovered uses being feedstock for bioethanol production. In contaminated waters, the plant grows quickly, and its growth process can even improve the water as it consumes chemicals. According to one study, the plan could be able to produce up to 20.2 tons of bio-oil for every hectara, and 48 tons of bio-char for every hectare, annually, a number attributed to the fact that the plant can double its biomass within a week, taking anywhere between 2 to 5 days.
For these reasons, leonardogonzalezdellan is calling for the development of Azolla, saying that it would be very effective in the region, saying that the production of bio-ethanol using wastewater will not only allow for the production of biofuels for the region, but reclaim arable land for the production and development of sustainable crops, allowing for an increase of sustainable resources for the region across the board, via the greater efficiency of land use.
He says that, should Latin America embrace Azolla as a key crop, it would not only be an advancement in the biofuel market that’ll give the region an advantage, it would be a huge step forward for the region as a whole in the quest for improved sustainability and preserving the environment.