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Thread: The Potential Use of Kudzu as a Biofuel3648 days old

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    Default The Potential Use of Kudzu as a Biofuel

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/pub..._NO_115=202385
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    Technical Abstract: Recently, tremendous effort has been put forth to identify plants with potential to be used as biofuels. Kudzu (Pueraria lobata [Willd.] Ohwi), while native to the Orient, has proliferated as an invasive weed throughout the Southern U.S. It is currently at or near the top of invasive species lists for virtually every southern state. Kudzu, as a member of the Fabaceae family, is a natural nitrogen fixer and, thus, grows rapidly across the landscape with no inputs (e.g., fertilizers). Given its perennial growth habit, its rapid growth rate, and the fact that kudzu has a high starch content (particularly its root system), its potential as a biofuel could be tremendous. However, to date, this potential has gone unstudied. We propose to initiate an investigation into this potential by quantifying above- and belowground kudzu biomass production, and associated starch and nutrient content. This initial work will lead to more in-depth studies of potential kudzu production systems, harvesting techniques, and cost/benefit analyses.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Saif ad-Dhib For This Useful Post:

    EliasAlucard (2009-10-23), riser (2009-10-24)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saif ad-Dhib View Post
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/pub..._NO_115=202385
    -----
    Technical Abstract: Recently, tremendous effort has been put forth to identify plants with potential to be used as biofuels. Kudzu (Pueraria lobata [Willd.] Ohwi), while native to the Orient, has proliferated as an invasive weed throughout the Southern U.S. It is currently at or near the top of invasive species lists for virtually every southern state. Kudzu, as a member of the Fabaceae family, is a natural nitrogen fixer and, thus, grows rapidly across the landscape with no inputs (e.g., fertilizers). Given its perennial growth habit, its rapid growth rate, and the fact that kudzu has a high starch content (particularly its root system), its potential as a biofuel could be tremendous. However, to date, this potential has gone unstudied. We propose to initiate an investigation into this potential by quantifying above- and belowground kudzu biomass production, and associated starch and nutrient content. This initial work will lead to more in-depth studies of potential kudzu production systems, harvesting techniques, and cost/benefit analyses.
    The environmental impact from its invasive nature seems to outway its benefits as a potential biofuel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clemo View Post
    The environmental impact from its invasive nature seems to outway its benefits as a potential biofuel.
    I agree. They would need to design a more controlled cultivar for this to have a future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clemo View Post
    The environmental impact from its invasive nature seems to outway its benefits as a potential biofuel.
    I agree with both of you. I just found the idea to be interesting because kudzu is already endemic in the south. It could be feasible to just harvest the existing kudzu infestations repeatedly throughout the year. The environmental impact of kudzu has been problematic but harvesting the existing infestations could offset some of the damage it has caused.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saif ad-Dhib View Post
    I agree with both of you. I just found the idea to be interesting because kudzu is already endemic in the south. It could be feasible to just harvest the existing kudzu infestations repeatedly throughout the year. The environmental impact of kudzu has been problematic but harvesting the existing infestations could offset some of the damage it has caused.
    Do you have anything on using other fast growing plants, like bamboo or seaweed, as biofuels. These are the two fastest growing plants I can think of. Of course drawbacks would include areas where you can't grow seaweed or bamboo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clemo View Post
    Do you have anything on using other fast growing plants, like bamboo or seaweed, as biofuels. These are the two fastest growing plants I can think of. Of course drawbacks would include areas where you can't grow seaweed or bamboo.
    I can find something given some time. I want to reiterate that self-sufficiency in energy by using biofuels, etc. would take a restructuring of society. At the moment, corn is seen a viable option despite the problems associated with growing it (heavy fertilizer use, expense, will drive up cost of meat and milk) because much of the established technology was intended for corn biofuel.

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    Bio-fuel is never going to replace fossil fuels. The biggest problem with bio-fuel is that it requires a lot of cultivable land. So, you are forced to face the question: do I eat or do I use my car? The former is, of course, the only reasonable option. Once I met a guy from Australia that wanted to use deserted areas to build algae pools. This can prove useful, since those areas are useless for food production. The drawback is that deserted areas are inhabited and, therefore, the transport costs are going to be significant.

    The truth is that nuclear energy is the only viable option to fossil fuels.

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