By in Technology

In the future - firewood trees

As a science fiction writer, I try to think how the future will look. Sometimes I look at big ideas like colonizing other planets, and sometimes I look at little things. It’s these little – and perhaps silly – things I’ll be writing about in this series.

As our understanding of genetics improves and we gain experience modifying or even creating genes, could it be possible to make trees that, instead of bearing apples or pears, produces blocks of firewood? I’m not talking about giant blocks that need split just a couple pounds of wood ready to throw into a fireplace. I’m thinking they would have a core of a longer burning type of wood, surrounded by wood and a bark that is easy to light.

I think you’d probably only get ten blocks or so a year from each tree, so you would need a small grove to heat your house for the winter. But the idea would be that over the several decade lifetime of the tree, you would get more wood “fruit” than you’d get from just cutting down the tree. And you’d get all that firewood without the hard work of sawing and splitting.

Of course one serious problem would be that each fall you’d have to watch out for several pound blocks of wood falling from twenty or thirty feet off the ground. But I think it’s an interesting idea.


Other posts in this series:

Adaptive roads

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MegL wrote on December 22, 2014, 1:01 PM

Interesting. Maybe a form of coconut tree. When coconut trees have fruit, it is very heavy, people have been killed.

inertia4 wrote on December 22, 2014, 4:05 PM

oneoveralpha That would be an interesting thing. But I would think thy would try and do it differently. It would be done in masses. And it would be done where you have to buy it. Not grow it yourself. The future, although they say has not been written, I believe it is some way. Just because we don't know whats coming does not mean the blue print isn't already made. Instead of firewood, technology would come up with a way where you can heat a home with pellets. Or something small that will last a very long time.

Feisty56 wrote on December 22, 2014, 6:22 PM

This is an interesting concept --definitely not a path my imagination would have taken.

scheng1 wrote on December 23, 2014, 8:15 AM

If we can mix and match genes like tossing salads, we can create the kind of babies we want, eg blond, tall, with high EQ and IQ.

Ruby3881 wrote on December 28, 2014, 4:51 PM

It's an interesting concept, and one I definitely like the sounds of. Though I wonder if anyone would want to develop such a tree, with many municipalities now placing a ban on wood burning stoves and fireplaces? It seems the future of combustibles is in pellets and other non-wood products. Wood is now the scapegoat for urban pollution. Cars bring in far too many government revenues...