By MATTHEW CAWOOD, Straight Furrow:
TREES have the potential to energise rural Australia, in all senses of the word. The components to make that happen are coming together, although too slowly for some.
On paper, biomass energy production should be a no-brainer for rural Australia.
The concept calls for a new form of production on farmland, energy tree crops.
Trees, probably eucalypts, will be planted on land unsuited for farming, or in alleys, to ensure they don’t compromise food production.
Periodically, the tree crops will be harvested – trunk, leaves, branches and all – and hauled off to a nearby biomass energy generator.
(For the first time in European history, farmers will be glad of the diehard nature of eucalypts: the harvested trees will coppice, using their existing root mass to rapidly regenerate for the next harvest.)
The generator, fed by mulched trees, will probably produce electricity, but not necessarily… Read more