[permaculture] Harvesting of prairie biomass for energy?
rael at ripco.com
Thu Jan 25 17:28:19 EST 2007
In a recent [Permaculture Forum (Upper Midwest)] post there was some
concern about the proposed harvesting of prairie biomass for energy,
suggested by the Minnesota studies of David Tillman's group. According to
their analysis, using a prairie plant mixture of up to 14 species "comes
out 6 to 16 times better than corn grain ethanol or biodeisel [sic] ."
Impressed by the potential of the technology, I'm repeating the posts below
With minor modification it could become a tool of permaculture. If the
harvesting equipment distributed the ashes from last years burning, it
would be similar to the Native American fire management that shaped the
prairies. Areas were burned as often as alternative years.
Also a portion of the biomass harvested could be pyrolyzed to charcoal, and
used in Terra Preta / biochar technology...
Time to Master the Carbon Cycle [Greal Links]
16 Jan 2007 Erich J. Knight, Shenandoah Gardens
..." a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5
billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil
fuel emissions! "
...I feel Terra Preta soil technology is the greatest of Ironies.
That is: an invention of pre-Columbian American culture, destroyed by
western disease, may well be the savior of industrial western society.
><> Bio-char, Soil Biogeochemistry, Johannes Lehmann
bio-char ... is much more effective in retaining most nutrients and keeping
them available to plants than other organic matter for example common leaf
litter, compost or manures. Interestingly, this is also true for phosphorus
which is not at all retained by 'normal' soil organic matter.
Chicagoland Urban Permaculture (CUP)
At 08:00 PM 1/24/2007 -0600, dhalsey at integra.net wrote:
Re: [Permaculture Forum] WCCO TV Appearance
>I have bad feeling about prairie grasses.
>Nothing will be returned to the soil and it will be the same old story.
>Such fascination with new sources for old habits.
>Like in Geoff's video except we are the maggots.
>As you might tell, I am very skeptical of all this.
>It is not PERMACULTURE. I do not believe you can renew what you burn.
>The Sun is free, clean and limitless. The wind is free, ample and clean.
>Save the carbon fuels for critical needs and transitioning.
>Must we burn everything we find? This just feels wrong?
> >From the article, "Tilman's research now shows that
>the opposite will be true when it comes to growing
>crops for fuel. He and his research team discovered
>that land planted with a highly diverse mix of prairie
>grasses and plants will actually produce more than
>twice the bioenergy of the same land planted with any
>single species, including Corn.
>"We were getting as much and in fact, in some
>conversion processes, more energy per acre on marginal
>land than we get with current corn production," Tilman
>Perhaps even more promising are the findings
>concerning greenhouse gasses. Native prairie grasses
>and plants appear to drastically reduce greenhouse
>gasses, findings recently published in the journal
>By capturing airborne carbon dioxide and returning it
>to the soil, prairie grass biofuels are essentially
>He goes onto say, even if you used all of the corn
>currently in production the ethanol would be less than
>15% of what we consume ....
>Food for thought......
>--- Paula Westmoreland <paula at ecologicalgardens.com>
> > FYI - thought you might be interested - Paula
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