It normally finds its way into the hands of Brazilian bioethanol producers, but now sugarcane finds a new energy purpose in Asia.
China's first power plant using sugarcane leaves has been put into operation in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The factory will use 200,000 tonnes of agricultural wastes including sugarcane leaves and tree barks to generate electricity every year.
The station has an annual capacity of 180 million kilowatt hours and can cut the emission of 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 600 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, and 400 tonnes of dust compared to coal-fired power plants with the same efficiency.
Farmers had been burning straw and sugarcane leaves in the field, causing severe air pollution and causing 70% of fire accidents in the county, plant manager Wu Jiguang says.
The plant purchases sugarcane leaves from farmers at a price of 120 yuan per tonne (€12.9/tonne).
Guangxi has 8 million tonnes of usable sugarcane leaves every year, which can provide materials for about 38 such plants.