An Empire Built Of Straw

All-round visionary and future-pundit Bruce Sterling checks in at Viridian Design with a hefty link-laden rant, one that largely discusses the potential merits of moving the US to a new economic model based on making ethanol fuels from prarie grasses.

“This scheme means covering the USA with a Saudi Arabia of prairie. That means sucking CO2 out of the air and turning into a vast sea of sod. Most of the fuel plant is roots, so it remains underground. You’re not going to burn that part. You’re using green plants to suck the burnt coal and crude-oil out of the sky and turn it into topsoil. Unlike nuclear power, this scheme is a chance to actively grab the excess CO2 out of the sky and get rid of it. It’s better than a closed carbon loop. It’s carbon sequestration.”

Thought-provoking stuff.

One thought on “An Empire Built Of Straw”

  1. Too bad that to harvest this hydrocarbon fuel resource you need almost as much as you take out, to power the combines.

    There have been a lot of calculations on this subject; they all come to the same conclusions: unsustainable without copious fertillizers, mechanized harvesters and irrigation. Plus it displaces agricultural land for growing food which we need to feed 6 billion (and counting).

    The outlooks for burning stuff to power our industrial societies are grim.

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