Kudzu – Using to Produce Energy

Q: As a chemist and a plant lover, you seem to be the best person to answer this question. What’s the hold up on using kudzu to power cars? Think how many problems this would solve: no pollution, land under cultivation instead of covered with subdivisions, no foreign oil dependence, no oil slicks, no drilling – the list is endless!

A: Not to mention the culinary merits of this eminently edible vine!

Although it looks like kudzu makes massive amounts of growth, in reality it yields only 2 – 3 tons of dry matter per acre, compared to the 3 – 4 tons per acre bermudagrass hay gives farmers. Also, heavy harvests for just a few years will decimate a kudzu stand, unlike hay crops.

Harvesting is also a hold up. I imagine the technique of growing the vine on telephone poles, as hops are grown in Germany, could be adapted to our needs. But imagine the objections you’d get from a farmer who owns land and machinery better suited for row crops.

Not to say your idea isn’t without merit. We just need a George Washington Carver of kudzu!

Kudzu History and Uses

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