I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
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- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
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switchgrass biofuels  RSS feed

 
Jeremy Bunag
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Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
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I remember reading in a University of Illinois paper that they were researching switchgrass biofuels, being much more fruitful than corn ethanol especially considering the yield per acre.  They had great pictures showing essentialy a field of corn, which can be grown pretty dense when you look at it, but then switchgrass: mega dense, completely usable (rather than just the ears). They likened it to a very tall lawn, and comparing running through a cornfield (there's still space!) and getting bogged down in a sea of tall grass.

Plus just how widely switchgrass could be grown.  Made perfect sense to me.  Yet I haven't really heard of much of a movement.  Granted I'm not much of a follower/seeker on this, just what I see coming across in newspapers and such, but I wish I knew what wasn't catching on!

I'd love to see more.  I'd love to read more!

-Jeremy
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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You might look at some of Roger Sampsons work, it is quite informative.  The REAP website is quite informative and has an online library available to all (http://www.reap-canada.com/online_library).  Alternative energy has always been viable, unfortunately certain energy sectors, such as petroleum, do not operate on a level playing field due to overwhelming subsidization from governments, a point Roger also makes.  Another good source of information are the bioenergylists websites such as http://gasifiers.bioenergylists.org/ , http://bioenergylists.org/ and http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/ .  Some conversion to liquid fuels is appropriate due to their energy density and ease of use in the transportation sector.  However most heating and energy needs for local industry are better met with local resources.  It is, unfortunately, an uphill battle.
 
David House
Posts: 34
Location: Oregon, USA
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Jeremy,


Jeremy Bunag wrote:
I remember reading in a University of Illinois paper that they were researching switchgrass biofuels, being much more fruitful than corn ethanol especially considering the yield per acre.



One of the advantages of switchgrass is that it is perennial. In other words, one does not plant it every year like corn. This has a good many implications that may not be immediately evident. One of them is that the root mass has a tendency to increase year on year, so that even after the top growth is harvested, the carbon sequestered in the roots continues to be sequestered, whereas by contrast, the root mass of corn dies and begins to degrade, and (largely depending on the tillage practices) that carbon is returned to the air.

Switchgrass can also be grown with far fewer inputs, either from repeated passes of a tractor for weeding, etc., or from chemical inputs, again as compared with corn.

And of course switchgrass can be made into biogas, and several studies show (with regard to biogas from switchgrass) what Sampson's study showed with regard to biogas from corn, vs. either as compared to ethanol, which is that energy yields are higher with biogas.



Nature almost always has a better idea. That is not to say we can't improve on nature, but we had better know very well how nature does it before we head off into the blue with some gee whiz "solution" that we thought up ourselves. I mention this because even switchgrass is not as productive as more diverse prairie ecosystems. See, for example, this mention: http://www.physorg.com/news68305721.html

The fact is that a more diverse ecosystem is always a more stable ecosystem, and that applies to the ecosystem in a digester and apparently as well to an ecosystem vs. monoculture of energy crops.


d.
 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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David House wrote:

Nature almost always has a better idea. That is not to say we can't improve on nature, but we had better know very well how nature does it before we head off into the blue with some gee whiz "solution" that we thought up ourselves. I mention this because even switchgrass is not as productive as more diverse prairie ecosystems. See, for example, this mention: http://www.physorg.com/news68305721.html



An excellent point, biodigesters, gasifiers, rocket stoves etc aren't as picky as many other technologies for their fuel source.  An additional bonus would be the related increase in the diversity of fauna in the ecosystem.
 
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