Thursday, April 19, 2007From a column in The Capital Times by Margaret Krome, a member of the state Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
. . . there's an important technology that is sometimes overlooked in these discussions. Biomass gasification is an existing technology for capturing energy efficiencies that has immediate and profitable application. It has been used for years by industry to convert coal into natural gas, and it can be used to convert biomass crops just as well.
The state should encourage industries' use of biomass gasification from biomass crops to take advantage of this existing and environmentally sound technology now to help stabilize and build an agricultural market that can serve the state in the future.
Ultimately, our nation needs to learn how to conserve energy better. For many years to come, investments in energy conservation will far outstrip the payback from energy production. However, as we proceed down the path of agricultural energy production, it makes sense to create market incentives for farmers to produce biomass crops that are both environmentally optimal and profitable.