North Carolina Democrats and Biofuels


Have you heard about Brazil and their successful effort to become energy independent using biofuels? The key to their effort has been the planting of vast tracts of sugar cane to be distilled into celulosic ethanol. Well it seems that North Carolina's Congressional Democrats will be playing an important role in the development of a similar program for America.

According to Reuters, "What's being suggested is a five-year pilot program to encourage farmers to grow 5 million acres a year of switchgrass and other crops for making so-called cellulosic ethanol."

This program comes under the legislative authority of the House Agriculture Committee. In the new Congress two of the four Agriculture Subcommittees will be chaired by Mike McIntrye and Bob Etheridge (pictured right) of North Carolina. Their efforts will be key to moving this program through the Congress to legislative approval.

I wonder, how much of that switchgrass will be in North Carolina?

Comments

A group of environmentalists

has been meeting with Perdue for months, getting her up to speed on energy issues in general and biofuels in particular. It would be very great to have a governor willing to lead and get out in front of issues like this.

I'm betting the real action and innovation will be in the states.

tobacco farms convert to ethanol?

I think this would be good for NC. Everyone's been talking about biofuels being made in the midwest from corn, but I think if switchgrass grows well in the South, this could be the replacement for tobacco crops that so many farmers have been looking for.

Opportunities

I don't think we need to run plant a load of switchgrass just yet. North Carolina is rich in cellulose. Larry Shirley of the State Energy Office likes to call us the Saudi Arabia of biomass. We have an abundance of woody waste, wheat straw, corn stover and other cellulosic agricultural wastes. Novozymes, a Danish company with a US HQ in NC, is leading research into enzymes that will break down cellulosic waste efficiently into ethanol.

There's more potential than just the fuel component. NC could get a jump on the biofuel industry by funding development of new equipment to efficiently harvest and process agricultural wastes (and not just the animal wastes currently being addressed. Don't get me started on animal waste.) Engineering and agricultural innovation combined with low-till harvesting techniques would be a win-win-win-win for the environment, agriculture, industry and universities.

Kudzu

Please, please, can we find a use for Kudzu?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

makes great feed for steer.

There is a guy in NC that PLANTS and harvests it every year to feed to livestock.

Also, you can make jelly out of it, fry the leaves, all kinds of things.
I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Cattledrive

down I-85?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

not cattle, goats.

One of my ideas for working prisons is that each site, no matter how small or large, would do SOMETHING to create their own food. So, a small county jail might have a barn full of goats. Each morning the prisoners would put the goats on to a truck and carry them to a Kudzu-infested site. Put up a temporary fence and let them eat to their hearts content. Then, gather their milk and drink it or make their own goat cheese for consumption.

Free food for the goats, work for the inmates, food for the inmates.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The vine that ate the South

From a Nov 25 N&O article:

But Novozymes scientists are already thinking about the next generation of enzymes, those that break down switchgrass and yard waste. And how about kudzu?

The idea to turn kudzu into ethanol has crossed his mind, said Frank Haagensen, a Novozymes scientist who works with Torry-Smith. The vine known as "the plant that ate the South" flourishes along the country roads that Novozymes employees drive to work.

Over lunch, Haagensen and his colleagues have discussed kudzu as a biomass feedstock. "It's mainly for the fun of it," Haagensen said. "But somebody could just figure it out."

Actually the starch is in the roots which are hard to get at which explains why the Kudzu vine is so persistent.

Kudzu: Miracle Drug

Kudzu has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, primarily to lower blood pressure and reduce the desire for alcohol. Sounds like something we could use on BlueNC!

Other medicinal uses for kudzu include, influenza, cough, colds, tonsillitis, measles, fevers, snake and insect bites, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal ailments, enteritis, constipation, removal of excess fluids from the body, digestive disorders, bad breath, headaches, migraines, hangovers, sinus problems, anemia, internal bleeding, thirst, hunger, lack of energy, sexual apathy, impotence, infertility, asthma, diabetes (caution, can reduce blood sugar levels and result in hypoglycemia when taken in large amounts), bronchitis, pneumonia, muscle shrinking, dizziness, diaphoretic, strengthen the spleen, stomach and intestines, as well as the entire immune system. In traditional Chinese medicine kudzu has been used to relieve muscle pain.

So when you see those "noxious weeds" growing all over everything, everywhere, remember, it might just be the cure to what ails you.

I've also heard that the root powder makes an excellent sauce thickener, similar to corn starch.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

sauce thickener?

Really? Because arrowroot powder is what we have to use and it costs BIG BUCKS. Man, I think I see an opportunity here...

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me