Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientific issues associated with carbon-neutral energy sources such as cellulosic ethanol

08.08.2006
Addressed today at plant science conference by Prof. Chris Somerville

Professor Chris Somerville of the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University, explained advances in plant science research that are both needed and achievable to reduce costs and multiply current levels of production of biofuels from plant cellulose (biomass).

Somerville presented his talk, "Bioenergy: The 21st Century Challenge to Plant Biologists" at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) today (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time August 5) in Boston's Hynes Convention Center. The presentation was part of the Major Symposium: "Plants Mitigating Global Change" organized by Professor Stephen Long of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Somerville noted the concept that CO2 emissions may negatively affect climate are not new.

"In 1895, Arrhenius presented a paper to the Stockholm Physical Society titled, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground in which he argued that increased concentration of atmospheric CO2, such as that caused by combustion of fossil fuel, would lead to the warming of the earth," Somerville commented. "It is apparent that he [Arrhenius] was correct and that we must develop alternative sources of energy."

The earth receives approximately 4,000 times more energy from the sun each year than the total projected human uses in the year 2050, Somerville commented. Green plants growing throughout the world capture the sun's (solar) energy and convert it to bio-chemical energy in a process called photosynthesis. There are vast energy supplies of renewable plant biomass growing throughout the nation and world. There is widespread interest in returning to the use of plants as widely used sources of renewable energy

"However, because of competing uses for land, a central challenge for 21st century biologists is to increase the efficiency of solar energy capture to the theoretical limit by rational methods. In order to accomplish this we need to acquire and integrate all aspects of knowledge about plant biology into a systems level understanding that can support an engineering approach to plant improvement," Somerville said.

Somerville explained specific areas of research that need to be addressed during his presentation August 5 in Boston. The Advanced Energy Initiative(AEI), a research initiative announced by President Bush in his 2006 State of the Union Address, embraces key recommendations of Somerville and the plant and microbiological science communities. Somerville called the AEI a visionary research initiative that will help transition the nation's transportation sector to use of domestically produced biofuels. Displacing use of gasoline with biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, will dramatically reduce emissions of stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Somerville noted.

This past year, Somerville has been participating in workshops organized by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science to address the nation's renewable energy needs. The workshops provided information that contributed to the development of the Advanced Energy Initiative of President Bush. The Advanced Energy Initiative is a landmark research effort designed to help break the nation's addiction to oil. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Somerville recently published the guest editorial in Science (June 2, 2006, Volume 312) concerning bioenergy research. He is a grantee of the DOE Office of Science's Basic Energy Sciences competitive grant awards program for Energy Biosciences research and member of the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). He was the speaker on "Biofuels and the [DOE] Biofuels Workshop Report" at the July 11, 2006 meeting of BERAC.

Brian Hyps | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aspb.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>