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Bamboo Renewable Energy – The Future of Thailand

By Bamboo Grove on February 8, 2019

Currently, Lao farmers are experimenting with bamboo as a possible renewable energy source for the future. In Thailand, the main fuel used to burn for generators are rice husks; however, when the husk price is too high because of a shortage, the people are looking for a cheaper fuel source. Bamboo is the answer.

The bamboo in Thailand is invasive to their forest, which detracts from the CO2 collection the forest provides. Another issue that bamboo presents for the forest, is also a benefit for it being a renewable energy, the bamboo is flammable. This quality of the plant will be seen as an additional attractive quality for renewable biomass.

By harvesting the bamboo and chipping it (breaking the bamboo down into processable “chips”), the people of Thailand are in a win-win situation. They prevent forest fires while generating a profit. Once the bamboo from these areas is harvested, it will be chipped, and sent off to be burned to produce energy for a biomass power generator. These generators are the main source of electricity in many farmland communities. So, by harvesting an invasive species of bamboo and not having to sacrifice farmland, the farmers are helping their community and providing their local areas with a renewable energy source. This experiment in Lao is expected to be concluded later this year and a scientific study will publish the results.

In our current global climate, many are searching for new sources of renewable energy; this small-scale experiment with bamboo may prove both beneficial and profitable for the rest of the world. If there is anyone doubting the long-term effect and benefit of this, think about corn and ethanol. Ethanol has reduced oil dependency in many countries across the globe. So, rather than fields of corn for renewable energy some may be replaced with bamboo for anything that requires burning to generate power or heat. Bamboo, like corn, is a viable crop for ethanol production. Also, when farming bamboo, many species only need to be planted once and may be harvested for decades without any need of fertilizers. However, the farmed crop does not to be selected careful and monitored.

Some species do die after a few years and others that are sustainable may become invasive to local environments if left unchecked. But, with an active farming community, these potential problems can be easily avoided. A final energy benefit of the passive sustainability of bamboo is that it will assist in reducing the amount of diesel fuel consumed by farmers since they will not need to tend their bamboo fields as often as a field of traditional crops.

Reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and lumber as fuel will prove greatly beneficial to our world. The climate is changing because of emissions and we will eventually run out of oil. Using a renewable and fast-growing energy source that requires little maintenance will not only prove greatly beneficial to the world, but highly profitable as well.

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