For many, the growing move away from fossil fuels brings to mind the replacement of large coal, gas, or oil burning power plants with any one of several alternative energy solutions. What is too often forgotten is that fossil fuels, especially oil, are also used for other things. Most of the oil used by the U.S. (the biggest oil consumer) is not used to generate electricity. 44% of the oil used by the U.S. goes to gasoline production, while a substantial 18% goes to the production of plastics, asphalt, and other materials.
While there are many renewable resources proposed for the generation of electricity, the problem of how best to replace gasoline and plastics and all of the other fossil-based chemicals is not as easily addressed. The use of electric cars plugged into green power plants may sound attractive, but will require major long-term changes at both ends of the link. And all of those electric cars would depend upon, among other things, lightweight plastics which green power plants cannot produce.
But there is a technology that offers an answer. Biomass technology, unlike other green technologies, can be applied to both the large scale generation of electricity and the production of mobile fuels, as well as the growing number of complex chemicals that we’ve all learned to depend upon.
Although many of the technical issues involving the use of biomass have already been solved, the biomass industry has until recently faced the same roadblock hindering other green industries, the cost challenge. The use of waste agricultural materials as a biomass source has been problematic, with costs and supplies hard to predict. The use of dedicated crops is more reliable, but the length of time required for growth, replanting, and harvesting has proved costly.
Viaspace, Inc., developers of Giant King Grass (GKG), an ultra-fast growing proprietary hybrid grass, have cleared that last hurdle. GKG grows so fast, requiring no replanting, that it can be harvested continuously throughout the year, resulting in 4 times the yield of switchgrass in terms of tons per acre, and 10 times the yield of corn stover. In addition to being a cost-effective and zero-carbon footprint replacement for coal in power plants, zero-carbon due to the carbon absorbed during the growth cycle, GKG can also be converted into mobile fuels such as ethanol, methanol, diesel and gasoline (collectively known as “grassoline”). And it can be used as a feedstock for the production of bio plastics and other materials now being actively researched by many energy and chemical companies.
For additional information, visit the company’s website at ViaSpace.com, or the company’s Giant King Grass products site at ViaSpaceGreenEnergy.com
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