In the Sacramento and Davis regional area, the University of California, Davis plans to take part in a project to explore the possibility of making biofuels from trees, university officials said in a news release. Check out the September 28, 2011 Sacramento Bee article by Hudson Sangree, “UCD on board for project to see if trees can be turned into biofuel.”
It’s going to cost a lot of money, but there’s a $40 million USDA grant up for grabs, and UC Davis is only going to receive about $3 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking to fund the type of green health projects where biofuels can be made from plants, such as trees. The research is scheduled to last about five years. But the project will be led by researchers from the University of Washington. See, Hybrid Poplar Trees.
The last decade of research on biofuels focused on ethanol. But corn was used in the past to produce ethanol. Now the scientists from these universities want to know whether growing trees in the Pacific Northwest and right here in Northen California will make great fuel. It’s a pity because those trees are needed to make oxygen that humans and animals breathe.
The researchers will be used the tree trunks, branches, and leaves to create a sludge made of wood, what scientists call a ‘biomass’ to develop the fuel. What the UC Davis researchers are studying presently is the potential of planting hybrid poplar trees. The type of fuel the trees will be turned into will be aviation fuels for planes, gasoline for cars and trucks, and diesel fuels.
Almost half a million trees will be planted–about 400,000 poplar trees. Think of the potential. Those trees could have been used to produce oxygen–clean air for the country. Instead, those 400,000 poplar trees that are going to be planted will be destroyed to make ‘biomass’ fuel, fuel from dead plants.
What a waste of oxygen potential and clean air. But then again, the grant money also will be used to build five commercial biorefineries, according to the UC Davis news release. The scientists will oversee the planting and harvesting of poplar trees. Just think of how many years it takes a tree to grow tall enough to turn it into fuel?
The alternative is we breathe in oxygen, and the trees breathe out–exhale– carbon dioxide. The tree’s waste material, oxygen is what humans and animals need to breathe to stay alive. But follow the money and the need for fuel. That’s where the biorefineries are headed on the path to green health competing with the waste vapors in the air from burning fuel whether it’s biofuel from dead plants like trees or coal, made from million-year-old trees and plants. Maybe some day there’s bee enough energy to make fuel from the heat of stars or the high temperature of a planet’s core.