Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biomass production – careful planning can bring many benefits

One way of supplying energy is to grow plant material and burn it. If managed well most of the carbon released by burning the material will be captured by the growing plants, and so have a low impact on overall levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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 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
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>