THE prospect of the sale of Gunns’ pulp mill licence has reared its ugly head again.
I offer a better and less divisive suggestion for the use of plantation timber, namely the building of a methanol (or wood alcohol) plant.
Methanol can be blended with petrol up to 10 per cent and used as a fuel in modern cars without ill effect.
Pure methanol can be used in fuel cells; such cells if used to replace the internal combustion engine in electric hybrid cars would produce totally environment-friendly vehicles.
Each state might use its own renewable carbon sources to produce methanol, e.g. Queensland – bamboo, spent sugar cane and woodchips; Tasmania – green waste (such as gorse) and woodchips.
Simple calculations show that each year the entire Tasmanian car fleet could be run on the methanol produced from 10 square kilometres of plantation timber.
Given that trees reach maturity in 20 years, an area of 200 square kilometres devoted, in perpetuity, to the right species of trees, could ultimately supply all our fuel needs.
— KEITH J. SYKES, Hadspen.
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