Better still, the growing plants could be used to help solve other environmental problems. In a review of current systems, Göran Berndes from the Department of Energy and Environment at Chalmers University of Technology in Götenborg, Sweden highlights several systems. The review is published in this month’s edition of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining.
- One set of systems currently running in Sweden grows willow trees and irrigates them with sewage effluent. This helps purify the sewage outflow at the same time as providing fuel.
- Other systems plant willow buffers between arable land and water ways. The willow trees use nitrogen that is being leached off the land, making good use of it instead of letting it simply pollute the rivers and seas.
- A third system that Berndes highlights is the option of growing biomass on areas of wasteland in India. Along with providing fuel, this also stops the land becoming degraded by erosion.
“We can do biofuels right or we can do them wrong. If we develop them correctly, we can achieve great environmental, economic and social benefits. It is our responsibility to look forward and shape the emerging biofuels industry so that it actually provides these benefits,” says journal editor Bruce E. Dale, Ph. D., Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University. “With Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining we intend to shed light on the pathways by which biofuels and bioproducts can realise their enormous potential for good.”
This edition of the journal also contains papers that review:
- Ways of pretreating cellulose containing materials so that they are more capable of releasing the energy they store.
- The different chemicals found in biomass. Cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin molecules contained in biomass will greatly improve the way that these resources can be exploited in commercial scale operations.
- The use of biomass for creating many different chemicals. At the moment oil is the source of chemicals that go into substances from paints to pharmaceuticals. Biomass could provide these, either by deliberately creating them, or by harvesting by-products of fermentation processes such as biofuel production. But to be ready for a biomass driven future we need start planning appropriate biorefineries today.
A Comment - The view from the USA
In a Comment article, US Department of Agriculture employee Wally Wilhelm explains the USDA’s view point on biomass use, and argues that US policy will need to facilitate collaboration between different disciplines in order to stimulate this next generation of technology.
These reviews are all featured in Issue 1 of the 2nd Volume of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining and all content will be freely available online via Wiley Interscience.
The free access web portal www.biofpr.com which supplements the journal, has recently been updated and contains new content including the latest product news and features, patent intelligence, and community pages.
Jennifer Beal | alfa
Dune ecosystem modelling
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Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
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Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
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