Thursday, June 23, 2005

98 Tons Of Plants Per Gallon

I just read this fascinating article. I have always wondered how much of the original prehistoric plant life was needed to produce a barrel of oil or a gallon of gas. It seems that someone has figured it out - 98 tons of prehistoric plants per every gallon of gas. For imagination assistance, the flying machine in the above picture weighs 100 tons - unbelievable.

Also, from the article, the author"... calculated that the amount of fossil fuel burned in a single year – 1997 was used in the study – totals 97 million billion pounds of carbon, which is equivalent to more than 400 times 'all the plant matter that grows in the world in a year,' including vast amounts of microscopic plant life in the oceans

An interesting point is made at the end of the article in showing how much existing plant matter would have to be converted to replace the oil we burn up each year. It seems that “…we would need to harvest 22% of all land plants just to equal the fossil fuel energy used in 1997.”

Bad news for the biodiesel movement? Hmm, I don't know, it seems that there are some new developments on the horizon. Stay tuned...


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