Friday, May 16, 2008

Combining Land Conservation w/Biomass Energy

The largest questions about the future of biomass energy involve concerns about ample feedstock supply combined with land area requirements and impact on land quality.
Rentech, Inc. (AMEX:RTK) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to collaborate with the Wilds, one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world, to study the effect on the entire ecosystem of growing and harvesting biomass and non-food energy crops.

The collaboration, which will also include Ohio State University, will be conducted on reclaimed mine lands at the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. The study will also examine the utilization of marginal landscapes for the production of perennial, non-food based biofuels, and the potential for bio-sequestration of carbon and other environmental services on reclaimed land. __Source
Large areas of wild lands are prolific producers of biomass. The waste biomass from forests and wilderness is plentiful, but requires energy to harvest. Questions about impact of biomass harvesting on wildlife and ecosystems are also involved in the long term viability of the use of wilderness and reclaimed land for biomass production.

Studies such as the one above involving a prestigious university and a respected land conservancy organisation, should go a long way toward answering some of these questions.

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