Engineered High Energy Crops

Engineered High Energy Crops (EHECs) are plants specifically designed for increased energy production. EHECs are:

  • Agriculturally-viable photosynthetic species that contain genetic material that has been intentionally introduced through biotechnology, interspecific hybridization, or other engineering processes (excluding processes that occur in nature without human intervention).
  • Intended to produce more energy per acre by producing fuel molecules that can easily be introduced into existing energy infrastructure.

EHECs include crops developed under the ARPA-E PETRO program. The success of these programs can facilitate the environmentally responsible deployment of biofuels produced by, or through the processing of, engineered plants to provide cost-effective, large-scale, and renewable substitutes for transportation fuel. For additional information regarding ARPA-E’s PETRO program and the specific technologies being investigated in PETRO projects, visit the PETRO program website. The representative graphic below shows how engineered biofuel crops—such as EHECs—are converted into usable biofuels for transportation (using corn as an example biofuel crop).

biofuel crop conversion to fuel