23 February 2008

Promising Biofuels Pact: India and Canada

The tremendous potential of biofuels and biomass are barely understood by policy-makers and planners. But technical experts from Canada and India are collaborating to bring biofuels out of the closet.
India says Saskatchewan University will help it in advanced research into second-generation technologies for biofuels...."Agri residues such as bagasse, wheat straw, sorghum and maize straws, leaf litter and various other plant biomass, which have not been adequately utilized for energy production, provide ample opportunities for use as biofuels," said S.A. Patil, director of the Indian institute.

"We have entered into an agreement with the Saskatchewan University in Canada for four specific projects on biofuels."...He said one project is for the conversion of biomass to ethanol using different technologies such as acid hydrolysis and supercritical carbon dioxide to produce fermentable sugars, which will be converted into ethanol via fermentation. Another project is production of biodiesel from jatropha and other oils using ultrasound technology.

Patil said the other two projects are for the conversion of waste biomass into biogas and fertilizers and for biomass conversion into hydrogen through supercritical water process.___Source__via biopact

Small-scale biorefinery projects promise to bring energy production down to a scale where ordinary entrepreneurs, businesspersons, and labourers can benefit--unlike megascale projects of big oil, big coal, and big nuclear.
“Biorefineries producing not just fuel, but also chemicals and energy can be built throughout the United States, utilizing locally available cellulosic biomass feedstocks. These small-scale projects will use a wide variety of feedstocks and test many different technologies for fuel and coproducts, providing experience and data that can be transferred to full-size, commercial-scale biorefineries....“A recent BIO report, ‘Achieving Sustainable Production of Agricultural Biomass for Biorefinery Feedstock,’ showed that through increased use of no-till agriculture farmers can produce and collect crop residues in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. The report identifies available techniques for sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues – such as corn stover and cereal straws – for use as feedstocks for advance biofuel biorefineries. The report is available at http://bio.org/ind/biofuel/SustainableBiomassReport.pdf.
Source
The aspect of biomass and biofuels that seems to distress so many mega-scale energy analysts--its distributed, non-concentrated nature--is actually a good thing for small scale entrepreneurs, and small-town and small-village workers. Because biomass is so "spread out" over wide geographical areas, it lends itself far better to small-scale, local ventures. Faux environmentalists will fail to understand that feature, whereas true environmentalists who care about local economies, will seize sustainable biomass/biofuels as an important issue to promote.

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