We've been pleased to get into biomass coverage this year, and more is on the way in December. One of the things about heating with biomass is that it's not right for every locale; often, proximity to a locally abundant fuel source is required. Now, one area in central Sweden has turned to a unique and somewhat controversial source: bunnies. (Yes, Googling "Sweden bunnies" will yield a few full articles about this.)
In a nutshell: Stockholm has a rabbit problem, as the result of too many pet rabbits released (or escaped) into the wild and subsequently breeding, well, like rabbits. The overflow of this non-native species has posed various problems for a number of the city's green spaces. The local government had already resorted to a sanctioned annual thinning of the population with the help of animal control and hunters; this reportedly reduces the bunny count by the thousands (yes, thousands).
Eventually, someone figured out a process (with the help of EU biofuel research funding) wherein the dead rabbits could be frozen and then used as fuel at a nearby plant for residential heating. It's a win/ win, right?
Not according to a local journalist, who provides my favorite quote in Helena Merriman's piece for BBC News:
"'In the town where they are burning them, the reaction of the residents is quite relaxed,' Mr. Savage told the BBC World Service. 'But in Stockholm, there's the big city attitude of the rabbits being cute.'"
I think some communities in America might have a problem with it, too. But it does get pretty chilly in Sweden, and from the sound of things, the rabbits' destiny is already a fait accompli thanks to the city's irresponsible pet owners. So, how would you feel about turning bunnies into BTUs?
BUGS ON A PLANE
No, I'm not talking about the entomological sequel to Snakes On A Plane. This headline refers to the kind of illnesses you can catch while cooped up in a "tin box," five miles above the ground, with a couple hundred other people for an hour or three of close-quarters travel.
Specifically, I'm referring to a recent article on the London Times website that reported on a "revolutionary new air filter" developed by a small English company named Quest International in conjunction with BAE Systems (an aerospace company).
Robert Beverly "Bunnies as BTU? Some Swedes have chased biofuel down the rabbit hole". Engineered Systems. FindArticles.com. 24 Jan, 2010. http://findarticles.com