Oil and gas companies are looking to cut their use of carbon-intensive “buddhas” boards to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the amount of pollution they emit.
But this isn’t just a matter of saving energy and money, the sustainability of the bamboo is also important.
Bamboo is the worlds most widely grown tree, and its production has been greatly reduced due to deforestation, pollution and over-fishing.
But the bamboo has a significant carbon footprint: it’s responsible for around 25% of the global CO2 footprint and accounts for more than half of the CO2 emitted by human activity.
To cut CO2, bamboo growers rely on a wide range of techniques including burning trees, growing on land that is polluted by runoff, and using chemicals such as pesticides.
These techniques are all expensive and inefficient, making them impractical for large-scale industrial use.
“We need to be thinking more about how we can reduce the carbon footprint of bamboo production,” said Dr Sarah Tinsley from the Centre for Sustainable Energy at University College London.
“In addition to the cost of the process, there is also the risk of losing biodiversity and pollination.”
Using bamboo for energy production is just one of the ways bamboo is being replaced by other sustainable alternatives.
For example, a bamboo factory can produce 50% more bamboo than traditional bamboo factories and the bamboo itself is a sustainable source of energy.
“The key question is how do you manage the costs of these alternative production methods,” said Tinsler.
“There are many different ways that we can do this.”
For example: the traditional bamboo production process is costly, inefficient and polluting, but can be replaced with a process that uses less bamboo and therefore less pollution.
The bamboo industry is not only changing the world, but also reducing the amount and impact of the planet’s CO2 emission.
This is an excerpt from ‘How Much is Enough?’ a special report on the future of food production, which is published by The Climate Group, an international coalition of organisations committed to ending hunger.