Biomass for bio-industries (energy, food or biomaterials) can be a major driver to reforest and make a greener world. Recently several options have been develoepd to make it cheaper.
Could we plant, reforest and establish new grasslands worldwide to combat climate change, produce biomass for renewable energy or biomaterials? Could we do it in a cheaper way and avoid expensive machinery, planters, till-equipment like plows, disks, etc.?
There are some groups working on it! Designer Jin-wook Hwang from South Korea came up with the idea of replanting and reforesting arid areas using seed bombs. When airdropped, the bombs disassemble themselves, allowing the smaller seed-carrying pods inside to cover an area. A pod contains some soil and nutrients to encourage the seeds to germinate and grow. Additionally, it functions as a mini-greenhouse, which gives the seeds and seedlings the warmth and protection needed to grow into strong plants before being exposed to the harsh environment outside the pod. As the seedling grows into a full plant, the pod biodegrades around it, allowing the plant to mature.
“Doomsday” devices (as they call them sometimes)
These seed-sowing plant bombs are one design team’s weapon of choice in the fight against global desertification and reforest or establish perennial grasses to feed biobased industries.
Consisting of a biodegradable shell loaded with a potent payload of plant capsules and nutrient-rich artificial soil, Seedbombs are designed to be dropped out of planes to help slow the spread of desert regions that are growing due to deforestation and other man-made causes.
Designed by Hwang Jin Wook, Jeon You Ho, Han Kuk II and Kim Ji Myung, below Seedbombs are a way to dispense direct aid to areas of impending desertification. Each carrier shell fans out in flight to disperse multiple clear plant capsules containing both soil and seeds. Once the capsules land, the soil provides enough nutrients and moisture to allow the plant to become strong enough to sustain itself. As the plant matures, the capsules gradually melt away.
Admittedly the design is purely conceptual and there’s some serious considerations to work out – wouldn’t it be dangerous to local flora and fauna to carpet entire regions with a hail of seed-spewing pods? How best to mix up the distribution of plants to be sown? Do the resources, manufacturing costs, and flights to disperse the capsules really make this the best option? We don’t expect to see seed bombing tactics in use anytime soon, although the concept certainly caught our eye.