Sunwo Zrt’s latest project of a special hybrid of the Paulownia trees linking the battle against climate change and soil rehabilitation with economy upswing trough large variety of multipurpose utilisation . And what better brand name is there to give to a species of such versatility than SMARAGDFA®, which – meaning “Emerald Tree” in Hungarian – also drives attention to the fact that we are holding a green gemstone of the future in our hands.
Over the recent years, environmental protection and climate change issues and in relation to these, the concepts of green energy utilisation have been coming into increasingly general use and have diverted attention to the development of a hybrid that would provide a combined solution to all of the above global challenges.
From an energetical perspective the largest possible production volume of biomass (Both for the production of bio-ethanol and high calorific value solid firing fuels) is a key target, while effective climate change actions require large and actively photosynthesizing green surfaces. The introduction of these newly created green surfaces into the global carbon trading schemes emerges as an interest of the National Economy.
The Smaragdfa® hybrid opens a new front in the management of this complex set of issues. Sunwo Zrt’s patented scientific innovation is capable of remarkable growth even under extreme climatic conditions due to its extraordinary features.
The tree is planted worldwide to exploit its adaptability to sandy, deteriorated or saline ‑ soils, its rapid growth, high specific calorific value (4500 kcal), excellent timber quality and occasionally for its beautiful bell shaped flowers. Its cultivation gave tremendous momentum to the development of hybrids for green energy generation and Carbon Credit purposes.
At 8 years of age the trees can be clearfelled, one trunk yielding an average of approximately 0.6-1 m3 of timber. The wood is of excellent quality, light, knot-free and water proof, making it an ideal raw material for the furniture and builders’ carpentry and joinery industries, but also for more extraordinary purposes, such as the production of barrels or boats. Easily planted and growing quickly, it is also a perfect plant for agricultural protective lining of crop fields. In energetical terms, it must be emphasized that 1kg of dry wood material has a calorific value of about kb. 4500 kcal (18830 kJ) which is exceptionally high. The high melting point of its ash at 1600+ ºC and the low level of hazardous pollutants released upon its combustion make it excellent firewood as well. Beside its high energy content therefore Smaragdfa® is ideal for the production of wood pellet and bio-ethanol too, this latter produced by sacharification.
Sunwo Zrt. is currently examining possibilities of using Smaragdfa® for the production of methanol, the fuel of the future, as its processing by pyrolysis technology opens the road towards the methanol economy.
Beside the various application areas it is important to mention that Smaragdfa® survives virtually on any kind of soil, even in sandy soils poor in nutrients, polluted by heavy metals and ash. One hectare of plantation ties an annual quantity of 40 tons of dust and air pollutants; the strong and deep reaching roots of the plants stopping soil erosion, evening out temperature fluctuations, improving the flow parameters and the humidity level of the air. It has large heart shaped leaves (Figure 2) that may reach even 70 cm in diameter; one 8 years old tree may yield up to 60 kg of leaves annually, making the plant ideal for green fertiliser and animal feed production too. The high content of proteins (16%) and nitrogen (15%) of the leaves may open up new dimensions in keeping livestock and soil improvement using bio-fertilisers.
Considering the aspects of environmental protection and climate change it can be said that the leaves of the exceptionally fast growing Smaragdfa® absorb enormous quantities of carbon-dioxide thanks to the plant’s C4 type photosynthesis. The plant practically “feeds itself from the air” while its leaves generate oxygen and bind flying dust and release humidity; thereby balancing the climate of their immediate environment.
The exceptionally high CO2 binding capacity of Smaragdfa® based on its C4 type photosynthesis is currently being researched by SUNWO Zrt. with the involvement of universities in Hungary.
The hybrid may offer a progressive solution to the World – and to Hungary among the first countries – which will absorb a larger quantity of greenhouse gases via photosynthesis than the continuously and inevitably increasing volume released into the atmosphere over a given unit of time and will also provide Mankind with a versatile and environment friendly biomass, opening up enormous potential for the evolution of a new Hungarian agricultural industry relying on the Green Industry.
Sunwo Zrt. has initiated – as the sole representative in Hungary of the Smaragdfa® – relying on these exceptional features the mass plantation of Smaragdfa® aimed at greening the Homokhátság region in the south of the Great Hungarian Plain, and has launched the PCMM (Private Climate Mitigation Movement) (see Figure 3), a globally unique initiative to involve private individuals into the fight against climate change, making anyone who plants as little as a single Smaragdfa® seedling an active participant in creating a sustainable and green future as the owner of the plant.