BIOFUELS forum: Prickly Pear Cactus / biofuel
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|The Tucson Citizen.com on Apr. 25 2011 reports that the Universidad Mayor in Northern Chile (valley with just .004 inches rainfall) is starting up a ”five-acre experimental plantation will produce sufficient scientific data on cactus biomass production in arid conditions by the end of 2013, and will then begin supplying fuel to a small-scale onsite power station.”
I think it’s interesting that Chile is not too far from Venezuela, a country in OPEC and where apparently one can buy a gallon of gasoline for 12 cents. Why doesn’t Chile just buy Venezuelan gas? Unless the motivation is the knowledge that fossil fuels are a finite commodity. Also, from my own experience, it seems to be a relatively slow grower
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
|They are on opposite shores of the same continent, but the whole of the Amazon jungle lies in between. And Bolivia. Perhaps the political rift is bigger than the geographical one. Chile tends to trade and align with the US a little more than the average S. American nation. Venezuela, since the rise of Chavez, tends to do so less.
The prickly pear cactus in my own yard grow so slowly that if I had to use them as fuel to cook my food I'd get perhaps one hot meal per year. Of course, there are only two full sized prickly pear cactus on my property, but just about any other plant that survives the frost here grows faster. My guess is that the feral grasses here produce 20 times as much biofuel per square foot. I love prickly pear cactus flowers. I enjoy the fruits. But I think a solar installation - electric or thermal - makes much more sense for a place near the equator where it's never cloudy.
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