energy crops, follow up

Daniel M Goldman dangold1 at
Mon Aug 24 09:14:20 EST 1992

Follow up to Tony Travis:
  I'm no biochemist, but if you want to store energy, my memory
tells me you want to use lipids.  After all, the petrol we are
trying to replace is a hydrocarbon.  Plants tend to use lipids
to store energy in seeds-e.g. canola oil, has been discussed.

I still believe the issue is that we need:
     1) A crop, complete with genetics and a production system.
     2) An extraction and processing/refinement system.
     3) Perhaps a new or altered engine to replace the gas engine 
        we now use which was originally designed around gasoline.

Research tend to focus on pieces of the puzzel, but perhaps more needs
to be done on integrating the system.  Whether we should focus on sugars
lipids or something else is a good question, and would be a useful thing
for plant breeders to know.  It seems to me that alternative engine types,
such as the Stirling Cycle engine, may offer us some new opportunities,
now that we have the space age materials we didn't have in the 1800's.
  My argument is for doing at least as much work on integrating the 
components of the system as the components themselves.  Biologists,
engineers and people in energy physics need to educate each other and
discourse a lot more! -DmG

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