Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 22, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Bioenergy is one of the current mechanisms of producing renewable energy to reduce our use of nonrenewable fossil fuels and to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Humans have been using bioenergy since we first learned to create and control fire - burning manure, peat, and wood to cook food and generate heat. Now that we are trying to scale up this activity to millions of acres or hectares, we are faced with the challenge of developing dedicated crops that have all the traits necessary for economic viability and profitability. Bioenergy crops will represent only one of many solutions to this problem, with significant untapped energy available from solar radiation, wind, and waves. Plant scientists and engineers are working together to rapidly improve both domesticated and undomesticated species to create more useful and viable bioenergy crops. Meeting the world’s needs requires agronomic and genetic improvements in numerous species to fit into a range of environmental niches and conversion platforms that will be employed to produce bioenergy. Dedicated and concentrated long-term efforts can lead to large payoffs toward development of improved varieties and production systems. Through a combination of sustainable production practices and improved genetics, biomass yields of dedicated bioenergy crops could be doubled by 2040, creating huge opportunities to capture photosynthesis products to power a global bioeconomy.