I read somewhere that it takes 10 calories of gas to make one calorie of grain.
My grandfather also told me that the Nazis discovered if air was heated to 600° C, the nitrogen would come out as ash and could be used for fertilizer.
Is this where American oil is going? The agri business, and as fertilizer?
It seems like conservation of fertilizer would really do well, since rising oil prices directly affect the cost of fertilizer.
There should be another revolution in American agriculture to handle the rising price of oil. We can't flood the Mississippi basin with nitrogenous run-off forever.
11-26-04, 10:51 AM
USA is not only deindustrialized nation; it's deagriculturalized nation too. Agriculture is concentrated in few states. For the rest, agriculture is more like oddity. It takes roughly 30 something gallons of gas/diesel per an average acre to grow stuff+fertilizers+transportation+killed soil=I wish I'll be dead before sh*t will hit the fan. We live in the unsubstainable world and nothing is being done about it. When "time will come", it will be too late. On the positive side, survivors will start from scratch.
11-26-04, 12:54 PM
Off the top of my head, the nitrogen to ash at 600 degrees is complete nonsense. If it were true there would probably be problems with ash in car engines, and the furnaces at work that have nitrogen running through them at over 1000 degrees C would be in trouble, let alone that in order to solidify nitrogen you have to freeze it really cold.
What you want for fertilisers is the Haber process:
11-26-04, 02:50 PM
Probably, he was referring to nitrogen oxides. In the nature, lightnings are big fertilizer making machines producing nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxides, formed in the lightning stems, are gradually transformed in the soil nitrides (KNO3, e.g.) i.e. chemical fertilizers. Without lightnings our world would look quite differently. Man made nitrides may need some "air ashing".
11-26-04, 03:42 PM
On the positive side, the survivors wont start from scratch, they'll hopefully start with most of our scientific knowledge and an awareness of what was done before and didnt work, ie unsustainability.
Have you guys ever heard of the land institute?
They're doing some amazing things with corn.
The goal is to create perennial grains so there will be large root masses. The large root masses will reduce erosion, absorb more water and have an earlier growing season.
They're also working on making grain producing varieties of native prairie crops, since the natives are best suited to the environment.
There's heaps of agriculture going in the United States. So much in fact, that we've created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey.
I think the solution is nitrogen fixing bacteria, like the kind in legumes or alder. We just need to embrace bioengineering. A few superweeds are a far better option than dead, depleted earth.
Thanks for that link guthrie, it was exactly what I was looking for.
11-26-04, 05:41 PM
The answer is hemp.
11-26-04, 06:19 PM
Hemp. It seems to be the answer to everything. ;)