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Oil Malthus

"Britain's first major electricity plant to be fuelled by grass will begin construction later this year. The £6.5m power station in Staffordshire will be burn locally cultivated elephant grass and will be able to supply 2,000 homes with electricity.",9061,1495403,00.html

At the moment it takes 10 units of energy to produce one unit of energy in grain. It takes another 5-10:1 to produce meat. I have no idea what the math is for hay.

How much energy did it take to produce one unit of grain in 1940? In 2000? Maybe we shouldn't be looking at surface area at all...

Dominic Schmelzer

Ethanol is produced from corn in the US because that is what is subsidized. Corn-belt lobby is apparently stronger than the hay-makers lobby.-)

Daniel Schmelzer

While that may be the reason, it is only indirectly so. As I understand, the technology for ethanol from hay is only now maturing -- new enzymes have been introduced to convert cellulose to ethanol.

Dominic Schmelzer

For the ongoing energy discussion:
Thought it might interest you. Maybe the grass lobby will get its say after all.


Just wenn you thought we had finished our conversation, George W. went live with selling switchgrass (i.e. hay). Is grass better than corn? I always had problems with ethanol because of its negative energy balance. Here is a wonderful discussion on its viability (especially switchgrass'):
Cheers, Dom

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