It is perfectly feasible to dedicate 8.58 million acres of farm land to this sort of energy production.
Originally Posted by SI51
I'm not sure if this has been stated, I have not read the entire thread. Some simple math and statistics puts this into perspective as to the effect this will have on the world's crude oil supply. Here's the math:
800 barrels per acre per year
43,560 square feet per acre
1 barrel per 54.45 square feet each year
960,000 barrels per year at 1200 acres
4,000,000 barrels per year at 5000 acres
In 2009, the US consumed 18,810,010 barrels per day. If they wanted to match this, they'd need 8,582,067.0625 acres at full production annually.
Let's call it an even 10 million acres needed, accounting for waste & buffer. The US has 922,095,840 acres of total farmland and 406,424,909 of that are dedicated to crops. That means a dedication of about 2.5% of us cropland to US oil consumption. Assuming your numbers are correct, that's an ok trade-off. Of course that's 2.5% of US cropland to meet one day
of consumption. If I'm getting this right, that's pretty intimidating.
Now consider this:
About 49 million acres of US farmland are dedicated to making ethanol from corn for the purpose of blending with gasoline (this is a very conservative estimate, other estimates peg it at nearly double this figure, or 78 million acres). That doesn't even come close to meeting our consumption of gasoline, and further, many studies believe that this process actually increases our annual oil consumption. So compare this 50-80 million acres to the 10 million or so acres needed by this new fuel making process and we can see that we're already dedicating a much larger amount of cropland to fuel here in the US. This doesn't account for other crops and waste material used to make ethanol for fuel, nor does it take into consideration that less arable land may be used for fuel production.
Ethanol from corn has seen advances over the past several decades increasing economic and yield efficiencies. It is not a new process. We can expect this new process to evolve and become more efficient over time and gain in importance. Now if I understand the new process, it in fact doesn't require the use of cropland at all!
They plan on using this in the MIDDLE OF THE DESERT! It's an area quite inhospitable to cattle or corn production. Certainly we could spare a little wasteland for the production of fuel... already we create wasteland in the production of fuel so it shouldn't be in short supply.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/...49215820070611Edited by TehStone - 6/4/11 at 3:01pm