Advances in Carbon Fiber and Graphene Tech: The Higher Purpose in Higher Value Carbon Products
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) Today we’d like to highlight advances in the production and use of higher-value forms of carbon as examples of a society slowly moving away from a hunter-gatherer culture in energy and materials and towards a pastoral and agricultural approach.
Specifically we’ll look at clean, cost-efficient approaches of producing carbon fiber from biomass — including applications and value — and at the potential use of graphene in nanotechnology.
The experience of our own time in energy and materials suggests that the hunter-gatherers did not go gentle into the night. When agriculturalists promoted sustainability and long-term reliability, the hunter-gatherers pointed to cost. “Huntin’ is cheaper than growin’,” as they might have noted at the time, and as we still hear today from advocates of petroleum exploration.
What may have changed the debate between the hunters (and their successors, the pastoral nomads) and the agriculturalists — what we can expect became a violent conflict that we have echoes of in the Book of Genesis — was the emergence of higher-value crops and materials and processes.
The hunter-gatherers and pastoralists might have had a strong set of arguments against basic food agriculture — but hunters couldn’t make wine in large quantities and agriculturalists could. Another echo we see in the Book of Genesis where the very first industrialist of any type we meet — and ultimately, after the Flood, the populator of the earth . Yes, that’s Noah, and reportedly he owned a vineyard and presumably made wine.
Good for Noah — who we remember for many things but we might also hail for pioneering the way towards the smaller-volume, higher-value niche products that continue to be the “pioneer products” in industries from consumer electronics, to cars, and to the advanced bioeconomy’s materials and specialty chemicals. He was a pioneer who said “why make low-priced grapes when you can make high-priced wines?” Elon Musk owes Noah some kudos for showing the way.