Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bringing Biorefineries Into the Commercial Mainstream

Bioenergy will require a lot of progress to become truly competitive with fossil fuels energy. But a lot of progress is being made in Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North American labs and workbenches. All of the objections to bioenergy can be met and overcome -- and will be in time.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have developed a calculation procedure to estimate the maximum theoretical yields, as well as predictions of the conversion efficiencies in terms of mass, carbon, and energy efficiency, of selected biorefinery production chains.

Based on their calculations, they concluded that the best way to exploit all the potentials of a lignocellulosic biomass feedstock seems to be the production of ethanol from C6 polysaccharides, furfural from C5 polysaccharides, and FT-diesel from lignin. Combining the best feedstock with the most promising final products, their results show that up to 0.33 kg of bioethanol, 0.06 kg of furfural, and 0.17 kg of FT (Fischer-Tropsch)-diesel per kg of softwood can be produced and that mass, carbon, and energy conversion efficiencies of 56%, 70%, and 82%, respectively, can be achieved.

A paper on their study was published online 17 March in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. ___GCC

We are still quite early in the game of solving the problem of replacing fossil fuels with sustainable bioenergy and other forms of plentiful and clean energy.



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