Category Archives: Bioenergy

The challenges to biofuel expansion

9By Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Recent resolutions by several countries, including the United States, to increase utilization of renewable fuels through 2021 – in addition to the general need to increase energy production and distribution worldwide – should boost global expansion of the biofuels industry in the coming years.

However, the sector must overcome myriad challenges to meet the greater global demand for bioenergy. These challenges include increasing cultivation of the agricultural crops that are utilized to generate biofuels without affecting food production; adapting to the impact of global climate change in agriculture; and competing on unequal footing with fossil fuels, which are strongly subsidized by innumerous countries, including Brazil… >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, January 22nd, 2014
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The success of sugarcane is the fruit of pioneering science and technology, study concludes

canaBy Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Brazil is recognized as the country with the world’s most efficient biofuel production, which is principally based on sugarcane. The success that the country has enjoyed in transforming this plant into a bioenergy source, however, is due more to a pioneering initiative to create an industrial system for ethanol production than the plant itself.

The system began to be developed in the 1930s when an agronomic development program that made the plant highly efficient was established. Despite these efforts, the agronomic performance of sugarcane is still below that of the other raw materials tested for this purpose over the last few years in different parts of world.

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Brazil world leader in sugarcane and ethanol knowledge and technology

 
Mini 018FAPESP – Brazil is the largest producer of ethanol from sugarcane in the world and occupies the leadership in technology for its production. The advances in technology have meant that its productivity is outstanding and the costs of production much lower than those of its international competitors. This leadership is due to the long work of many years undertaken by researchers in institutions of higher education and research and in private enterprises, which has resulted in a valuable baggage of knowledge and technology on sugarcane and its derivatives and on the process of ethanol manufacture.
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First Look at Sorghum Genome May Find New Food, Fuel Uses

23The Crop Site – Patrick Brown, an assistant professor in plant breeding and genetics, said having a complete characterization of the locations (loci) affecting specific traits will speed up the adaptation of sorghum and other related grasses to new production systems for both food and fuel.

Brown is working on the project through the Energy Biosciences Institute at the U of I, hoping to use the sorghum findings as a launching pad for working with complex genomes of other feedstocks. The EBI provided the startup funding for the study.

To adapt the drought-resistant, tropical sorghum to temperate climates, Brown explained that sorghum lines were converted over the years by selecting and crossing exotic lines with temperate-adapted lines to create lines that were photoperiod-insensitive for early maturity, as well as shorter plants that could be machine-harvested. >>Continue Reading<<

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Sweet hydrogen: how sugar could help satisfy the world’s energy needs

SugarThe Guardian – Hydrogen makes an extraordinarily efficient and clean fuel. Three times as energy-efficient as petrol, Nasa used it to power its space shuttles. It can be used to generate electricity and only produces water as a byproduct.

And yet, scientists are struggling to scale up hydrogen production. Ironically, given hydrogen’s green potential, the cheapest and most viable sources are hydrocarbon-based compounds such as natural gas. But liberating hydrogen from fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that outweigh any environmental advantages.

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Optimization methods applied to renewable and sustainable energy: A review

4Science Direct (Summary) – Energy is a vital input for social and economic development. As a result of the generalization of agricultural, industrial and domestic activities the demand for energy has increased remarkably, especially in emergent countries. This has meant rapid grower in the level of greenhouse gas emissions and the increase in fuel prices, which are the main driving forces behind efforts to utilize renewable energy sources more effectively, i.e. energy which comes from natural resources and is also naturally replenished. Despite the obvious advantages of renewable energy, it presents important drawbacks, such as the discontinuity of generation, as most renewable energy resources depend on the climate, which is why their use requires complex design, planning and control optimization methods. Continue reading

Seven billion people and biofuels production

0000002639-Agroenergia_baixaEmbrapa Agroenergy – Seven billion inhabitants. This figure marked the year 2011. The life of every human being, like mine or yours, counts as one in this figure. With this number of people on the Planet come to the fore fundamental questions about power, energy supply and sustainability. Thus, the debate over “food production versus energy generation” remains a topic that deserves attention of society and professionals working in research and development of biofuels. For discussion of this issue, the first question to be considered is the fact that the extensive productions of foods require the use of large energy, mainly as a fertilizer and fuel. Nowadays, the fuel is needed to move tractors, combines, trucks, water pumps, and other machinery. Fertilizers are needed to replace the soil nutrients for the plants. The use of heat and electricity are also critical in several agro-industrial processes. For those reasons, it is clear that to produce food for the population is necessary to use energy. Continue reading