Convert into automobile ethanol the 30 million tons of tree leaves that end up in landfills every year.
Leaves as a more earth-friendly biofuel feedstock for the creation of ethanol.
In America, alone, up to 30 million tons of leaves end up in landfills every year.
With the growing trend towards the development and creation of “biofuels” — particularly ethanol from various biomass elements (such as corn) — tree leaves may be an appealing option.
Unlike corn ethanol production, the utilization of tree leaves to produce cellulosic ethanol would not increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Why? Because tree leaves do not require fertilizers or other contributions from fossil fuels to grow.
What is the economic fuel value of 30 million tons of leaves?
As of November 2006, the average open-market price of coal was $34 per ton (source: U.S. Department of Energy). Considering that 30 million tons of leaves has the equivalent energy value of 18.45 million tons of coal, the equation would be: 18.45 million tons of coal x $34 per on = 627.3 million dollars.
What is the energy equivalent of 30 million tons of leaves?
30 million tons of leaves have the equivalent calorific energy value of 18.45 million tons of coal.
Additional benefit: The elimination of 30 million tons of landfill waste.
The emergence of a leaves-to-energy industry would also have the fringe benefit of eliminating the 30 million tons of leaves added to landfills annually, greatly reducing municipal landfill costs and requirements.
As biofuel feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production and / or as a secondary fuel in cleaner-burning, coal-based power plants, the potential seems to exist for tree leaves to emerge as a new, renewable energy source. Maybe Mother Nature has provided her own way to help keep her planet healthy.
Information Source: “Tree leaves: A free source of energy, literally falling from the sky.” A thought paper by Eric Knight. http://www.remarkable.com/leavestoenergy.html