Tech and Culture

Using trees to power our cars – Is it a good idea ?

Just read on Yahoo! News that a research group at the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho is working on replacing oil with wood as a primary fuel.

Now, the news report lacks substantial technical information, but my guess is that these guys are using Pyrolysis to generate bio-oil from wood. Of course, I would try to gather some more information from their webpages/publications, but for now, going by the article, pyrolysis seems to be the only way this is possible.

This makes me wonder. What is the purpose of even doing this type of research? I can understand using waste bio material to generate fuel, but cutting trees to generate oil, or as the news report puts it, quicken the natural process of crude oil formation seems a little irresponsible to me. Deforestation is a serious issue, and I doubt that using trees to power our SUVs is going to help solve anything.

I wish that more research was done from a practical viewpoint rather than just to get published.

2 replies on “Using trees to power our cars – Is it a good idea ?”

They’re doing research on different plants to use to convert to biodiesel gas I think. They might eventually cultivate fast growing trees like poplars specifically for that purpose.

In any case, theres a very informative article on the Aug 8th Newsweek. I was most surprised at how extensively Brazil has implimented the use of Biodiesel fuels already.

The above mentioned Newsweek article can actually be found here. Very interesting read, especially considering that countries like Brazil and India could stand to be the leading bio-fuel exporters in the very near future.

I guess this approach works good for mixing bio-fuel with conventional oil. I still don’t believe that bio-fuel can take over crude oil completely. Bio-fuel still needs biological material, and we have a scarcity of that thanks to urbanization and pollution.

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