MICROBIAL CATALYSTS TO PRODUCE FUEL ETHANOL AND VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS
Location: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research
Title: Chapter 3: Biofuel Demand Realization
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2010
Publication Date: February 15, 2010
Citation: Hughes, S.R., Qureshi, N. 2010. Biofuel demand realization. In: Vertes, A., Qureshi, N., Blascheck, H.P., Yukawa, H., editors. Biomass to Biofuels: Strategies to Global Industries. UK:John Wiley & Sons Limited. p. 55-69.
Achieving a sustainable energy future depends increasingly on renewable energy sources. At the present time renewable energy represents only about 14% of the total world energy supply, of which the largest fraction (around 9%) is traditional biomass used mainly in inefficient ways, such as wood burned for cooking in rural areas. Non-traditional biomass (biomass used in a sustainable way) currently provides about 2% of the total energy consumption in the U.S. Fossil fuels, which supply about 80% of the world’s energy, are projected to be depleted within one or two generations at the present rate of consumption and, in addition, have environmental and security concerns (Goldemberg, 2007). Biomass, defined as all plant and plant-derived materials, including forestry residues, waste from pulp and paper mills, animal manure, and urban wood waste, not just starch, sugar, and oil crops already used for energy, is projected to be a growing part of future sustainable energy sources. It is estimated that forest and agricultural lands alone, the two largest potential biomass sources, could produce enough biofuels to meet more than one-third of the current demand for transportation fuels (Perlack et al., 2005). Biomass is widely available, inexpensive, and has fewer environmental concerns than fossil fuels. However, it is more labor-intensive and the costs of transportation and processing are still a barrier to widespread use. The full resource potential might be realized in several decades when large-scale bioenergy industries and combined biorefineries are likely to exist.