Atmospheric and Soil Carbon and Halophytes

Robert C. Hendricks, NASA, Glenn Research Center

Dennis M. Bushnell, NASA, Langley Research Center



World population is anticipated to grow 40% within 40–50 years (2008 baseline) with unprecedented demands for energy, food, freshwater, and clean environments. At 43% of the total landmass, exploiting the Earth’s arid and semi-arid lands becomes a matter of necessity. Compared with glycophyte agriculture, we view seawater and brackish water halophyte saline agriculture in its nascent stage and see the need to explore and farm on a massive scale. Halophyte farming costs should be the same as glycophyte cellulosic biomass farming; processing for cellulosic matter should also be applicable. Halophyte life cycle analyses (LCA) within the fueling debate are incomplete, yet glycophyte LCA favors biomass fueling. The Biomass Revolution is in progress. The capacity, cost, and logistics required for biomass replacement of petroleum-based fuels, however, will require all feedstock sources and regional cooperative productivity, technical investments, and both the participation and cooperation of the American farmer and global farm community.