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@Alain That sounds cool. I think that I gotta study more regarding tree farming. Previously I am looking at close-loop algae system and apparently it is too fragile to keep a constant high productivity, no matter heterotrophic or autotrophic approach is used. There is a report saying that switchgrass can reach 20tons per acre per year in Taiwan (where I am located in) although the productivity will drop as the root system aged and a re-plant is needed about every five years. Should the poplar root system be almost never aged, then we do be able to have a constant and profitable supply of feedstock.
With some web searching, I think that the 10 tons should be annual instead of triennial (per the "Approximately 10 tons of poplar could be grown per acre annually" in If this is correct then it's 1350 gallons per acre per year in average, as GWR typically harvests poplar triennually. In an interesting old article ( there are some interesting calculations and comparisons regarding ZeaChem/poplar, corn and algae although they are assuming that the 2000 gallons yield (based on the optimistic 15 tons annual yeild) is triennual. Yet I believe that the key to biorefinery they revealed is how many BDTs you can get at a profitable price per year, continously. A better conversion process can increase the gross margin, but it won't generate more feedstock.
The AIST guys also have a development in Li-Air battery: It looks that this Ni-Li approach is an alternate in cathode: the O2 + 2H2O + 4e- → 4OH- in Li-Air becomes Ni(OH)2 + 2e- → Ni + 2OH- in Ni-Li and thus no O2 is needed.