Apparently scientists (and some of our readers, surely) have known that we can grow oil for years, and not in the grow-corn-make-oil kind of way. The Brazilian Copaifera langsdorfii can be tapped (ala maple syrup) for a natural diesel fuel that requires only simple filtering before being poured into a truck. (This picture is of the tree's cells.) The catch? The diesel only has a shelf-life of about 3 months.
So how many trees would it take to match the oil output of, say, Saudi Arabia? Check our stats after the jump.
Saudi Arabia Oil Output Daily
11 Million Barrels
Output of One Acre of Copaifera langsdorfii Yearly
Number of Acres Needed To Match Saudi Arabia Yearly Output
182,500,000 (Total Trees: 18,250,000,000)
Number of Acres in North America Alone
Number of Acres in North America Used For Corn (2007)
Amount of American Corn Spent on Ethanol
15% and growing
Frequency Corn Needs Replanting
Frequency Copaifera langsdorfii Needs Replanting
Every 90 Seasons
*It should be noted that oil barrels and diesel barrels are not a precise 1:1 ratio.
Some interesting metrics to think about. On a worldwide scale, it doesn't seem all that impossible to alleviate oil shortages with plants...and the natural carbon offsets seem worthwhile. It's just too bad these trees take 15-20 years to mature (by which time we plan on flying around in a hydrogen Jetsonmobile).