Wind in the willows
Willow trees cultivated for ‘green energy’ can yield up to five times more biofuel if they grow diagonally, compared with those that are allowed to grow naturally up towards the sky.
British researchers have identified a genetic trait that activated in some trees when they sense they are at an angle, increasing slightly modified ‘reaction wood’ which more easily releases the sugars from which biofuels are made.
Their research took them to the wind-battered Orkney islands, where the trees grow at an angle due to the constant prevailing conditions. Here it was discovered the trees were “five times better at releasing their sugars.”