Using wood for fuel?

Since I became Peak Oil aware I’ve always wondered about the assumption that as Americans we’ll just go back to using wood for heating and cooking with no problems.  Most people assume that we’ll just start using wood again and there it is.  Finally a blog writer touches this subject.

Click over here to read the first two parts of her series about wood.

Here in the heartland it seems unlikely that we’ll use a whole lot of wood for fuel, mostly because it’s not as readily available as other place.  If I had to guess, I’d say we might see people burning corn cobs.  I know that’s a strange thought, but it’s pretty easy to grow and it acts a lot like wood when it burns, although you would need some large fields of it to do much good.

Anyone have any thoughts on how this might get resolved?  Read the 2 parts of the series first and see the potential magnitude of the problem.


5 responses to “Using wood for fuel?

  1. A couple of off-the-cuff thoughts:

    1) More passive technologies (super-insulation, passive solar, etc).

    2) Sweaters and long underwear will become more popular again, due to people keeping their houses in the 50’s or low 60’s versus the high 60’s or 70’s. I have never liked wearing sweaters because I get too hot in them while inside. If I was unable to keep the thermostat at the 68F my wife prefers over the winter, it would be a different story I’m sure.

    • You know another thing that was kind of a no-duh moment for me? Increase the humidity level in your house. Duh! In the summer it amplifies the heat and it seems to do the same thing in the winter. I know my normal temp is way more comfortable when the humidity level is way up.

  2. thetinfoilhatsociety

    I had some, they’re in my own blog. Where I live water is going to be a bigger concern I think. And keeping cool.

  3. I am doing quite a bit of research on Short Rotation Coppice woodlot management. In my Zone 5 it looks to be really easy to grow 5-8 tons -per year- of biomass per acre per year using willow or aspen. Pelletize that and run it through a stove and the numbers begin looking better.

    These SRC lots only need 2-3 years to establish rather than 20 for a White Pine, 80 for Maple, and 200 for an Oak. You can pelletize corn cobs just fine by the way 😉

    Wood/biomass is AN answer, but by no means THE answer!


  4. Keeping cool will be the problem down here in Florida. For heat, I think people will actually burn anything and air pollution will dramatically increase. I also think that we’ll see a lot more strip mining for coal–whether that is burned straight up for heat or turned into electricity is anyone’s guess. There is a lot of coal still in the ground and that will dramatically effect the landscape and environment of the places where it is prevalent. Have you seen what strip mining has done to areas of WV? It’s really terrible.

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