Thursday, February 02, 2006

So I Googled Switch Grass

Addicted to oil, and keen on finding alternative sources for fuel the POTUS threw out switch grass as a new clean source of ethanol. Switch grass eh?, what's switch grass? Well through the wonders of the internets, and the power of Google search, I found out. 'Switchgrass, also known as Tall Panicgrass, is a tall-growing grass found in marshes, lakeshores, and meadows. It grows in large clumps.' Right, so its a tall grass grown mostly in wet areas, love that Tall Panicgrass nickname... we are addicted to oil time to call in the Tall Panicgrass. But seriously what potential does switch grass have as an alternative fuel source: 'for use as ethanol, the grass has advantages over other plants such as corn because it is a perennial and does not have to be replanted each year.' Okay and its ecological benefits are what: 'During combustion of plant-based biofuels, the carbon dioxide emitted is considered to be sequestered during the growth cycle of the plant. Carbon emissions are largely neutral except for energy associated with their production and conversion into fuel pellets. The savings in GHG emissions is considerable because pellets (at 5 kg CO2e/GJ) have much lower emissions than coal (96 kg CO2e/GJ) and natural gas (62.13 kg CO2e/GJ). ' Sounds great, sounds like Bush is on to something for once. Funny thing is throughout my search into the now sexy switch grass plant, usually the second or third search result was a story about hybrid grasses like Giant Miscanthus, or some mismash of elephant grass, and switch grass, which produce 17 foot monster grasses, that because of their size, make switch grass look like mud. This brings me to Bush's nutjob statement about animal-human hybrids, o.k. sure sounds like scary stuff, not sure I am really into supporting human-pig hybrids, or even the monstrosity that was that mouse with a human ear. But Mr President, where do you draw the line ethically, on cloning or genetic manipulation, you are against animal-human hybrids, you are against stem cell research, but you have no problem allowing the genetic manipulation of plant life. I am all for the development of clean fuel sources, productive crops that could feed the world great, but genetically engineered foods freak me out, I like my food to be produced and grown the old fashion way thanks, a 40 pound steroid filled tomato kinda freaks me out. So good on you GWB, its nice to see your speech writers are up on some new alternative fuel sources, but don't be gettting all ethical and high and mighty about the horrors of genetic manipulation on us, real ongoing science trumps science fiction everytime.


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