The U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture have decided to use $1.37 million in taxpayer funds to see if there is a commercial market for hybrid shrub willow.
Apparently, commercial enterprises did nott think it was worth $1.37 million to find out.
Two researchers at Cornell University have been researching this since 1998. So, in 14 years, they don’t know if this thing is commercially viable. So taxpayers’ money will be used to help them find out.
Hybrid shrub willow may be bioenergy crop. Or it may not. The government is paying $1.37 million to find out.
What is a bioenergy crop? “Crop” means you can wheedle the Department of Agriculture out of money. “Energy” means you can wheedle the Department of Energy out of money.
The two researchers also work for the Craig Ventner Institute. Ventner is the genius who co-discovered the structure of the human genome. Why didn’t he make the investment?
This is the first project to take advantage of the recently mapped shrub willow genome.
Science marches on . . . at government expense.
“Finding the genetic fingerprint for superior hybrid vigor in parent species could cut the time it takes to identify even more promising progeny.” I’m overwhelmed.
One of the men who will cash the check says this: “We think the results of this research will take years off the cycle time needed to find the best growing shrub willow hybrids. With consistent increases in yield each cycle, we’ll rapidly advance commercialization of this emerging bioenergy crop.”
I should think that a profit-seeking company would have written the check if it shows such potential. But, then again, I am not a Keynesian. I do not appreciate government spending as a way to make u all richer.
The crop grows on marginal farmland. New York has lots of marginal farmland: at least a million acres.
Think of the potential: a million acres a year devoted to shrub willow. In just New York.
Now, if they can just find a commercial use for it.
And so it goes, day by day, hour by hour, inside the Washington Beltway. “You send it. We spend it.”