Vetiver grass technology was introduced successfully in many tropical areas on all continents. Due to the hard work and diligence of the Vetiver Network and its operatives, there is now a lot of collective knowledge about all the aspects of growing and propagating the wonder plant known as Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides). As a result, it is now proven worldwide that vetiver, applied properly, is a recognized low cost method of fighting and preventing soil erosion, using hedge rows on hillside contours etc…., as well as planting fields of vetiver for various pollution remediation and soil conservation applications
But, as it sometimes happens, attempting to solve one problem, lead to the discovery of another amazing fact. Vetiver is probably one of the largest biomass producers of the planet’s Flora…., which makes it ipso facto, the largest CARBON SINK that can be established quickly, cheaply, and permanently anywhere between the 35th parallel North and the 35th parallel South, given soil (even poor soils), sunshine and water.(The Tropics and Sub-tropics)
YET VERY FEW PEOPLE IN THE “FIRST WORLD” COUNTRIES OF TEMPERATE CLIMATES EVER HEARD OF VETIVER (except people in the Fragrance Industry)
Counting both, the grass and the root system, Vetiver can, within 8 months, produce up to 100 tons/hectare of biomass. (dry weight)
If the grass is only harvested as a BIOMASS FUEL, and the perennial vetiver plant is left in the ground and allowed to grow back, year after year, a vetiver field is a virtual FUEL MINE, with the only difference that a coal fuel mine, or a lignite fuel mine, or a tar sand fuel mine, will eventually be exhausted, while the vetiver is a RENEWABLE fuel mine…., lasting for ever with only minimum care and some fertilizer.
Petroleum has on the average 18,000 btu/lb
Coal has 12-13,000 btu/lb
Dry wood has 8,500 btu/lb
Sugar cane bagasse has 4,000 btu/lb
All the above are widely used carbon based fuels, which, upon combustion, release energy for power generation, and produce CO2 gas as the main product of combustion, which is added to the mix of atmospheric gases.
Dry Vetiver Grass has 7,000 btu/lb and is not yet used for power generation in Power Plant boiler furnaces.
It must be noted that, CO2 derived from the combustion of “sequestered” carbons, like coal, petroleum, lignite and tars, increases the existing inventory of CO2 in the atmosphere along with other noxious gases, whereas CO2 derived from the combustion of biomass came from the current atmosphere in the first place, by way of photosynthesis, and therefore does not add or remove anything from the existing inventory of CO2 in the air. Furthermore, the combustion of biomass fuels produces none of the noxious gases of sequestered fossil fuels.
For that reason, CO2 released from burning sequestered fossil fuels has been called “bad carbon” by environmentalists, and CO2 released from burning biomass carbon is referred to, as “good carbon”.
The purpose of this paper is for the VETIVER NETWORK to show how establishing VETIVER FUEL MINES, in addition to VETIVER HEDGE ROWS, and harvesting the leaves of both, to burn bales of vetiver hay in power plants, could produce large amounts of low cost electricity for many nations in the world, now totally dependent on imported fossil fuels…., while at the same time, boosting their agrarian economy and mitigating global warming.
Most recently, in the midst of the “US primaries” of the 2008 American presidential Election, much discussion and soul searching is taking place regarding the production of ethanol from agricultural crops. Apparently the farming public does not agree with using CORN and other food crops for ethanol production. It is now widely proposed to use mostly CELLULOSIC BIOMASS (rather than starches and sugar crops) to produce ETHANOL.
VETIVER IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL CELLULOSIC BIOMASS.
It will grow well all over Florida, Louisiana, South Texas, and Southern California, and of course in all tropical and semi tropical countries of the world.
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