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7 September, 2005

Powergrass

Within the next few decades, the UK will have a major problem meeting rising demands for energy generation.  We also already have a situation whereby farmers are paid to not use some of their land, to avoid contributing to overproduction. [I know; both statements are simplistic, but they're good enough for the purpose of this entry.]

How about combining the two?

The BBC reports a potential scheme to grow large quantities of 4m-high Miscanthus grass on otherwise unused land, providing a crop which can be burned (theoretically a carbon-neutral process) by power stations. It is estimated that devoting 10% of suitable land in the EU could fuel 9% of gross electricity production. Not a total solution to the overall problem, obviously, but certainly a significant contribution.
For comparison: it is thought that each hectare could yield 12 tonnes of dry, burnable matter with the same energy content as 36 barrels of oil.

Comments

Let's not forget biogas. I know a couple of dairy farmers who're quite convinced that in a few decades, milk will be a by-product of energy production.

Posted by Andy at September 9, 2005 02:49 PM

Aye. The more innovations, the better.

As an aside which doesn't deserve an entry of its own, last night I read that a proposed causeway across Morecambe Bay from Lancaster to Barrow-In Furness (about 12 miles/20km) will act as a tidal barrage extracting 100% of wave energy for use in the National Grid. 100%. So, no more waves, then?

Posted by NRT at September 9, 2005 05:35 PM
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