i don't understand the fixation on ethanol. that's not true: people study ethanol because ethanol studies are funded, other biofuel studies are not. i prefer biobutanol b/c it is more similar to gasoline and therefore cheaper to integrate. why politically support ethanol, which is more different?
to the point of the post, major field trials growing a more productive biofuel feedstock have started in Illinois. apparently, this unimproved version of the crop is a perennial (you plant it once and it keeps coming back), is tolerant of poor soil (so it competes less with food sources), and is very productive (the authors claim that 20% of our fuel needs could be served by 10% of our cropland).
now if we can just go in and modify the idiotic ethanol policy to be a technology-neutral biofuel policy, we might actually have a chance to succeed in accomplishing something useful.