Introduction To Bioenergy, An

Introduction To Bioenergy, An

by Nigel G Halford


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The bioenergy industry has grown rapidly since the turn of the century as politicians and energy producers have sought alternatives to fossil fuels. This has been driven by the growing consensus that carbon dioxide released during the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming and climate change and the fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite and alternatives will have to be found. The expansion of the industry also came after a sustained period when farm prices were at historically low levels and the prospect of creating additional markets for agricultural produce was an attractive one. The bioenergy industry now represents a major market not only for established crops but also for novel crops and a variety of waste products. Its success, however, has led to a fierce 'food versus fuel' debate on the ethics of using food crops for energy production. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to bioenergy, covering liquid biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel), biomass and biogas. It describes the feedstocks that are used, including established and potential crops as well as waste, the production processes, the products, the political interventions to support the industry and the impacts the industry has had on markets. It provides information on how this sector is developing and where it may be headed, and aims to give a balanced view on the arguments for and against the exploitation of different bioenergy sources. It would make an excellent entry-level textbook on this fascinating and rapidly changing topic, but is also accessible to the non-expert who wishes to have an overview of an industry that is already having profound effects on agricultural and energy markets around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783266241
Publisher: Imperial College Press
Publication date: 01/20/2015
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 6.47(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.33(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction and Definitions 1

1.1 The Need for Alternative Fuels 1

1.2 Composition of Fossil Fuels 7

1.3 Terminology, Further Definitions and an Introduction to the Major Bioenergy Feedstocks 11

1.4 Potential Benefits of Replacing Fossil Fuels with Biofuel, Biomass and Biogas 14

1.5 Political Drivers for Biofuel Development 19

1.6 Food versus Fuel 22

2 Bioethanol 25

2.1 Introduction 25

2.2 Fermentation of Sugars to Ethanol 27

2.3 Bioethanol from Sucrose-Accumulating Crops 30

2.3.1 Sucrose synthesis in plants 30

2.3.2 Sugar cane 32

2.3.3 Sugar beet 35

2.3.4 Sweet sorghum 37

2.4 Bioethanol from Starch 39

2.4.1 Starch synthesis in plants 39

2.4.2 Bioethanol production from starch 42

2.4.3 Bioethanol from maize (corn) starch 45

2.4.4 Biotechnology 49

2.4.5 Bioethanol from wheat: the United Kingdom experience 50

2.4.6 Bioethanol from other grains 54

2.4.7 Non-cereal sources of starch 55

2.5 Second Generation Bioethanol from Cellulose and other Cell Wall Polysaccharides 56

2.5.1 Plant cell walls 56

2.5.2 Bioethanol from algal cell wall polysaccharides 58

2.6 Butanol 61

3 Biodiesel 63

3.1 Introduction 63

3.2 Oil Synthesis in Oilseed Crops 66

3.3 Biodiesel Manufacturing 70

3.3.1 Biodiesel quality compared with petroleum-based diesel 72

3.3.2 Commercial blends 74

3.4 Biodiesel Feedstocks 75

3.4.1 Soybean oil 75

3.4.2 Oilseed rape (canola) oil 79

3.4.3 Palm oil 82

3.4.4 Tallow and waste oil 86

3.4.5 Other potential first generation feedstocks 87

3.5 Potential Second Generation Biodiesel Feedstocks 88

3.6 Biotechnology 92

4 Biomass 97

4.1 Introduction 97

4.2 Willow 100

4.2.1 The suitability of willow as a biomass crop 100

4.2.2 Current commercial cultivation of willow 104

4.3 Poplar 105

4.4 Miscanthus 106

4.5 Native American Prairie Grasses 108

4.6 Giant Reeds and Reed Canary Grass 110

4.7 Co-Firing of Grain 111

4.8 Thermal Conversion 111

5 Biogas 113

5.1 Introduction 113

5.2 Anaerobic Digestion 114

5.3 Biomethane (Renewable Natural Gas) 119

5.4 Feedstock 122

5.5 Commercial Production 123

6 Conclusions 129

Further Reading and Resources 135

Index 139

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