Sunday, December 28, 2008

The next biofuel is ... kudzu?????

By Rick Morris

I should mention that I first learned of this story from my dad. It seemed quite unbelievable to me at first.

I have been a skeptic of the ethanol industry because it has so transparently existed for the purpose of enriching Iowa farmers via subsidies. It is clear, though, that we do need to find American solutions to the question of how to supply the world's energy. Drilling should of course be a part of that (the shale in Colorado alone should produce monstrous supplies, much less anything additional in Alaska or offshore), but anything else that we can create would be beneficial as well -- not because of the eco-freaks who say that we're all going to die of global warming tomorrow (a new Ice Age, predicted by scientists in the '70s, is now being forecast by many again), but because we can "drain the swamp" of petrodollars pocketed by unfriendly Arab countries, Russia and Venezuela.

Amazingly, the devil weed of kudzu, which has bedeviled much of the South for generations, may provide the answer! From the Cox News Service story:

"The plant is a fast-growing, woody vine that can grow up to 60 feet in one season. Its underground roots, around the diameter of an adult forearm, store plenty of starch essential for ethanol production. Kudzu exists mostly in the southeast but is native to China and Japan, where the starchy roots have long been used for cooking and thickening sauces ...

And unlike corn, kudzu doesn't have high planting and maintenance costs ...

it should require little to no fertilizers or pesticides that could harm the environment."

How funny would it be to stick it to the oil-funded dictatorships by taking one of our country's most hated, out-of-control pests and turn it into a prime energy source? If copper thieves of recent years have taught us nothing else, we know that you'd surely see people cleaning the landscape for free as they would pluck every bit of kudzu from the areas where it's overgrown all over the South.

Here's a Tennessee TV report on the company trying to bring "kudzunol" to market:

No comments: