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NY Times article on biofuels and greenhouse gases
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Harvard University Gazette: Kudzu cuts alcohol consumption

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2005/05.19/09-kudzu.html

Excerpt:

In China, high concentrations of one of Kudzu's active ingredients (puerarin) are used medically to increase blood flow to the brain and heart, particularly in emergencies. "Wherever blood goes, alcohol goes," Lukas explains. "We think that this triggers a quicker response. The brain says 'enough' in less time. People feel satisfied on fewer beers.

"Kudzu is not going to take someone who drinks 30 beers a week and turn him or her into a teetotaler, but you might go from 30 to 15 a week. It's not a panacea or a magic bullet, but it looks like it could be a tool for people to reduce their drinking."


Regarding desert reclamation, I first heard about it from an old colleague I correspond with in the Philippines. When Mount Pinatubo blew its top in 1991 and lowered the planetary temperature by 1 degree, it also unleashed 10 billion cubic meters of ejecta, 10x more than Mount St. Helens. That's enough to cover about 10 million acres a foot deep in acidic ash. One of the reclamation programs was to plant the area with fast growing kudzu. Wood ash, which is alkaline, was used as a supplement to partially neutralize the acid and allow the kudzu to get established. This helps with the soil remediation, reduce erosion and prevent mud slides when it rains, and eventually restore farm lands. It also provides food for humans and goats.


The newly formed crater lake in the volcanic caldera. The ever enterprising Filipinos turned this into a popular extreme tourist attraction. Look up Crater Lake Expeditions, if you're ever in the area.


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Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you found kudzu at SFU then it's been imported into Canukland, legally?? I'd sure like to try growing it in the far North. Wonder if there's a legal way to get some kudzu seeds to try.



No, sorry, it wasn't kudzu. They were calling it buttercup, but I've never seen buttercups grow like that before. It may have been a variant in the same family though.

I think Mark Emery might have some kudzu seeds for you, but I heard he doesn't mail seeds anymore.
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When Mount Pinatubo blew its top in 1991 and lowered the planetary temperature by 1 degree, it also unleashed 10 billion cubic meters of ejecta, 10x more than Mount St. Helens. That's enough to cover about 10 million acres a foot deep in acidic ash. One of the reclamation programs was to plant the area with fast growing kudzu. Wood ash, which is alkaline, was used as a supplement to partially neutralize the acid and allow the kudzu to get established.



Assuming a 1:1 ratio of wood ash required to neutralise volcanic ash, where did the Filipinos get 10 billion cubic metres of wood ash? Was someone having a fire sale?
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Assuming a 1:1 ratio of wood ash required to neutralise volcanic ash, where did the Filipinos get 10 billion cubic metres of wood ash? Was someone having a fire sale?


Quite a bit of forest was obliterated, but obviously providing nowhere near the amount of dead wood to neutralize all the acidic ash. Not knowing the details first hand, I can only assume that they used the wood ash in the most logically effective manner: In and around the plantings. Presumably with the stabilized soil retaining rainwater, the acidity will slowly be neutralized.

Here's an idea: If there is a species of oil plant that loves acidic soil, it could be planted on all that volcanic ash coverd land which is unsuitable for food crops. Perhaps jathropa, oil palm, the cobaifera diesel tree, or the hymenaea kerosene tree. The last two produces volatile oily resin that burns like their namesakes. I believe most of these species are available if not native to the Philippines.

This could potentially be new biofuel plantations that would not encroach on existing forest, in opposition to the NY Times article. Of course, this is primarily due to the previous forests and rice fields being encroached upon by a volcano..


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Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think Mark Emery might have some kudzu seeds for you, but I heard he doesn't mail seeds anymore.

I didn't have a clue who he is, but google did. Is kudzu another type of cannabis?



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's an idea: If there is a species of oil plant that loves acidic soil, it could be planted on all that volcanic ash coverd land which is unsuitable for food crops. Perhaps jathropa, oil palm, the cobaifera diesel tree, or the hymenaea kerosene tree. The last two produces volatile oily resin that burns like their namesakes. I believe most of these species are available if not native to the Philippines.



Good idea Burb. Why fight the PH issue head on when finding an acid loving tree/plant would solve some of the hassles easilly.

Thanks for the info on the diesel and kerosene trees. I hadn't even heard of them until now.
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I think Mark Emery might have some kudzu seeds for you, but I heard he doesn't mail seeds anymore.

I didn't have a clue who he is, but google did. Is kudzu another type of cannabis?



No, Kudzu may be a weed, but it's not "the weed". The only reason I remembered about Mark Emery is because he is in the local B.C. news a lot lately over the seed mailing extradition thing. I don't support addiction but with all the really serious stuff going on it seems our tax dollars would be far better spent hunting down real bad guys, not Cheech'n'Chong types.

Actually, now that were talking about cannabis, I wonder how industrial sativa (AKA hemp) would fare as compared to switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol feedstock? I know the process isn't practical yet, but by Gods' grace someday soon, we'll be driving around on our own ethanol. I remember hearing that hemp not only produces nutricious seeds (cattle feed), but also can be grown on bare sandy rocky wasteland. Desert reclamation via hemp ethanol plantations?
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There was a post on a blog at the NY Times that gave a list of the plants and their effectiveness for cellulosic processing. Hemp was #1, as I recall. I have tried to find the link, because I think a lot of folks here would find it interesting. No luck. This goes back a few months now, if someone with better search skills and more time than I have cares to look for it. It was on an environmental blog.


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Location: New Jersey | Registered: August 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I too remember seeing the article and noting "that's interesting". Regardless of how efficient cannabis might be as a fuel and fiber feedstock, I doubt if any government would sanction it. Too many voters wouldn't understand the difference between industrial hemp and cannabis, and most politicos would view it as political suicide. I agree that the police should focus their efforts on real criminal activity and hard drugs, but since a pot bust gets as many 'points' as any other drug bust, and the risk is much lower, one can see why they do what they do.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Regardless of how efficient cannabis might be as a fuel and fiber feedstock, I doubt if any government would sanction it.



I heard that a university in France developed a strain of hemp that bears about 3% THC, so not even Cheech'n'Chong could smoke themselves high before passing out from smoke inhallation suffocation. It's the functional opposite of B.C.s famous stuff.

It should be accepted considering the relative harmlessness of it. Maybe they could plant their fields with male clones only. When the males eventually went hermaphroditic in an attempt to reproduce, they could replant with fresh clones.

Hemp and cotton carved history out for Brittian who circumnavigated the globe conquering almost everything in their path. Brits colonised India, China (Hong Kong), South America (Belize), Africa (Ghana) and North America (Canada/United States).

While Brittian was not the only European coloniser, they were largely King of the Sea. After William Wilberforce successfully lobbied Britians parliament to abolish slavery, their navy hunted slavers all over the globe (pirates too)

Hemp ropes and cotton sheeting allowed the British navy to make sails for their ships. Gunpowder and steel for the cannons and citrus fruits were also important.

Sorry for the boring history babbling, I was only trying to point out hemps critical role, that's all. Banning industrial hemp won't help win the war on drugs (we've already lost anyway). More emphasis on public education should be more effective than the current obsession with prohibition.
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the historical summary; I'm a history buff so I always find it entertaining. If oil prices keep going up we may well be back to cotton sails and hemp rope rigging before too long. I've handled hemp rope and it's far far superior to almost any other cordage with the possible exception to marine nylon.

Hemp probably has a better chance of becoming more widespread here in Canukland where there already are fields of industrial hemp grown in the maritimes. I think it's the 4th or 5th season of Trailer Park Boys where those big hemp fields are featured. In America the war on drugs isn't at all about winning, it's about using people's prejudice and stupidity to get bigger enforcement budgets, more toys, bigger cars, etc...



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If oil prices keep going up we may well be back to cotton sails and hemp rope rigging before too long.


Not quite but along the same lines:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/transatlantic_kite_ship.php


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Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Smothering vine that snaps hydro poles now in Canada
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/Arti...20090923?hub=SciTech

Updated Wed. Sep. 23 2009 6:50 PM ET

The Canadian Press

It's been known to snap hydro poles, swallow buildings and smother forests.

Now a plant described as the vegetable form of cancer has invaded Canada from the United States, where it's been dubbed "the vine that ate the South."

Kudzu, a native of east Asia, has spread into southern Ontario and one expert predicts British Columbia and Quebec will be the next targets for the voracious vine.

The United States spends an estimated US$500 million per year in its war against the leafy plant, which suffocates crops, damages power lines and blankets timber stands.

Scientists believe warmer temperatures have stretched the greenery's range to Canadian soil.

"This is the first sighting in all of Ontario, and as far as we know, Canada," said Rachel Gagnon, co-ordinator of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council.

In the United States, kudzu has also been called the "mile-a-minute vine" and the "foot-a-night vine."

"I've also heard it been called the cancer of plants, just because of the way it moves and just kills everything in its path," Gagnon said from Peterborough, Ont.

She said a botanist working near the town of Leamington recently spotted kudzu growing along the shores of Lake Erie.

Scientists are analyzing the greenery and deciding how to dispose of the patch, which stretches 120 metres along the shoreline and is 50 metres deep.

Gagnon has monitored the plant's march northward through the United States, but was surprised that it arrived in Canada this quickly.

Studies show that temperatures below -20C can kill the plant's roots.

"If it survives the winter, then obviously it's going to keep growing next summer and continue to spread," she said.

As annual temperatures continue to inch higher, one expert says British Columbia and Quebec will eventually join Ontario in providing a favourable climate for a kudzu invasion.

"Quebec and Ontario are the big two," University of Toronto ecology professor Rowan Sage said Wednesday.

"But southern Ontario would be by far the bull's-eye for Canada."

Invasive species, such as the mountain pine beetle that has taken a chunk out of Western Canada's forests, threaten native flora and fauna in ecosystems across the country.

Kudzu is difficult to control and costly to remove.

"It just has this extremely pervasive and aggressive growth that captures a landscape and converts it to kudzu," Sage said.

"We call them 'kudzuscapes.' "

The thick coverage chokes food sources for wildlife.

"A kudzu stand is kind of like a desert as far as animals are concerned," said Sage, who began studying kudzu about 20 years ago.

The plant also releases nitrogen into the air and water and can carry the soybean rust disease, which damages crops.

Still, concerted kudzu control methods, including root removal, herbicides and allowing farm animals to munch on the plant, can be effective.

Kudzu can creep at a foot-per-day rate and engulfs 500 square kilometres annually, he said.

Sage said estimates have found that about 300,000 square kilometres of land in the United States has been buried by the vine.

But the relationship between Americans and kudzu hasn't always been hostile.

The plant was first introduced to the country in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

Farmers planted it extensively throughout the eastern United States as a means of limiting erosion and feeding cattle. Others made clothing from its fibre and extracted starch from its giant sweet-potato-like roots.

But kudzu began to proliferate on abandoned farms as more and more people left their properties and moved to the cities.

By the 1950s, it was no longer welcome and measures were put in place to try and control it.

The plant, ubiquitous in parts of the U.S. Southeast, has become part of the culture.

Sage, who lived in Georgia, said it's common to see old farmhouses, factories and cars engulfed by kudzu.

He said southerners have long believed that kudzu patches were dark places full of "creepy crawlers," like snakes, spiders and lizards.

The long, woody vines were also thought of as ideal hideouts for fugitives and escaped convicts.

But kudzu has an upside. It can be used to brew tea and serves as a traditional medicine to fight alcoholism.

Sage said its starch makes delicious gravies and the plant itself can be turned into biofuel.

Gagnon said she's aware of kudzu's possibilities, but still insists that people contact Ontario's invading species hotline at 1-800-563-7711 if they spot it.

"There definitely are some positives ... but you don't want people planting it all over," she said.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How do you make Kudzu into biofuel? Starch is mentioned in the post. Using an enzyme to convert the starch into sugar would enable fermentation to make Ethanol, and the residue might be a high protein animal feed, like dry distiller's grain (DDG). Too bad we can't grow it here - our winters get too cold. Besides, anything that resembles Kudzu around our places gets raw glycerin mysteriously dumped on the roots Wink

Cheers,
JohnO
 
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