Friday, January 12, 2007

What If? (was carbon sequestering)

A Given;

I'm surrounded by "greenies", and could even fairly be accused of being one myself.

Keeping that in mind, there are some folks who think that the jury is still out on atmospheric carbon being an issue. However, the dissenting voices are often a fabrication of Fox News and the like. The science on this (and related) is pretty clear. For a refresher, avail yerself of Dr. Richard Alley's podcast "Big Weather" available at http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail258.html .

Moving along;
Aside from just greenies, I'm also surrounded by foresters. Further, I own and operate a small sawmill, and have nearly as much money in chainsaws and related as I do in computer equipment. (true!)

Keeping in mind the quite interesting field of engineered laminated wood products, (microllam, others) I have queried folks who ought to know as to the relative amounts of sequestered carbon uptake in the waning years of a post-prime hardwood forest vs the uptake of a forest growing from adolescent to mature.

I can't get anyone to touch this question. Which at least implies to me, that the answer is evident.

So, what if?

What if we pushed hard into replacing a lot of the steel and concrete that will have to be replaced or built new in the coming decades with engineered laminated wood products? Note that engineered laminated wood has a lot of better aspects of 'high tech' composite materials. Wood is cellular ya know. Increasing the demand for hard-softwoods and hardwoods over the next 50 or so years to 10 to 50 times over current demand. How much atmospheric carbon would we remove from the carbon cycle over the short term and sequester for the life of the new structures? A life cycle that could easily reach into the 22nd century? Much longer than steel/concrete.

Folks are always looking for the next miracle material. I think we might very well be overlooking some really fine materials already in production.

Imagine if you will, a dense, cellular matrix based, high modulous, relatively high strength/low weight engineering material. If specified within it's engineering limits, and protected from humidity, is virtually immune to slow-scale oxidation and within its working parameters is practically immune to every frequency of vibration? In fact, it just damps it out. (elevated transport ways?). A material whose production is wholly solar powered, and uses our worst current nemisis, atmospheric carbon as its base raw material.

What if?

1 comment:

godato said...

I think you make a great point. In this world it is all too often that we always look beyond and not in our own backyard. I have seen LEED's buildings being built here in PA and they used pressed soybean straw to simulate wood. Think of what it took to get that soybean straw from the field to the processing plant. We have plenty of trees in Penn's Woods to make real wood mouldings and doors. Greenies also want us to stop using trees to make paper. Use Knapf instead. think what it takes to grow a non-native plant in a field. think how little wildlife and clean water you will get from a field that used to be a complete forest ecosystem. We would be foolish to stop growing and using trees! Ridiculous things like this are a direct result of ridiculous greenies. Could be why some of us choose to push back on this global warming thing! America is always the bad guy in some people's eyes.

We certainly don't want to pollute ourselves to death and should have a good plan of action that is financially and environmentally friendly.

Wait and see if Hillary Clinton signs the Kyoto treaty. Her husband Bill didn't............