17 July 2007

No more oil: try jatropha and miscanthus

A recent post on the Neutral Existence blog reports that the International Energy Agency says we'll run into serious oil supply problems in only five years. The post says that there will be a significantly increased demand from the booming industrialization of India and China, and that it's becoming increasingly critical to find alternatives to oil.

Along those lines, the Energy Blog had posts for a couple of exotic-sounding alternative fuel possibilities that I hadn't read about before. One is a cellulosic ethanol energy crop called miscanthus, whose output exceeds that of switchgrass:
In the 2004 trials, miscanthus out-performed switchgrass by more than double and in the 2005 trials more than triple.
(Don't know if that means the amount of crop produced, or the amount of energy produced.) And the other is jatropha, a biodiesel crop which grows well in undeveloped land:
Although not suitable for temperate climates, jatropha promises to be less expensive and less competitive for land than food based oil seeds that are used as feedstock for biodiesel.

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