09 March 2008

Bio-Energy Exceeds World Energy Use

Bio-Energy stands to become one of the main energy pillars of the Earth within twenty years (alongside nuclear fission, enhanced geothermal, and solar thermal/PV). Failure to understand that simple and obvious fact is allowing fear and confusion about energy prospects to obscure the near-future energy picture. Every year, land biomass alone stores 6 times more energy than the total world annual energy consumption.
  • Total mass of living matter (including moisture) - 2000 billion tonnes
  • Total mass in land plants - 1800 billion tonnes
  • Total mass in forests -1600 billion tonnes
  • Per capita terrestrial biomass - 400 tonnes
  • Energy stored in terrestrial biomass 25 000 EJ
  • Net annual production of terrestrial biomass - 400 000 million tonnes
  • Rate of energy storage by land biomass - 3000 EJ/y (95 TW)
  • Total consumption of all forms of energy - 400 EJ/y (12 TW)
  • Biomass energy consumption - 55 EJ/y ( 1. 7 TW)
SourceExciting and revolutionary breakthroughs with clear implications for Bio-Energy such as this and this, combined with the huge and growing work in biomass, liquid biofuels, garbage to energy projects, and synthetic biology projects suggest that the government-academia-industrial complex has just begun to tap into the potential resources of bio.

Turning the huge potential of biomass into usable energy is the purpose of the rapidly growing Bio-Energy industry. It takes time to develop the necessary infrastructure for a global bio-energy industry, but the economic and energy promise of such an industry makes the project worthwhile. The very de-centralised nature of Bio-Energy should allow much larger numbers of small and medium-scale enterprises to take advantage of the money flow--as opposed to the mega-centralised oil industry.

The biosphere is hugely expandable, unlike global oil deposits. Bio-Energy potential, once developed, dwarfs any conceivable human energy needs projections for the next several hundred years. Bio-Energy should not compete with food for feedstock, and third generation projects are featuring the use of agro-waste and forestry waste as feedstocks.

First generation approaches to biofuels such as soybean biodiesel and maize ethanol, were corrupt and misguided mega-farm industry insider deals, involving US Senators such as Ben Nelson and Chuck Grassley. Corrupt politicians from farm states should be held to account for their huge waste of US taxpayer resources and wasted time.

As long as the media continues to trumpet faux crises such as CAGW and Peak Oil, and demonise hopeful energy solutions such as Bio-Energy and safe nuclear, the public will continue to be "dumbed down" and incapable of making informed decisions on energy.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Not everyone agrees with your assessment of biofuel's future... simply because the marketplace is not at work here... government is.

Benny Peiser who compiles a daily email of articles from England and elsewhere posted several articles today that were contrary to the idea that biofuels are presently beneficial.

If you are not receiving his information, you might want to consider subscribing [free] to his emails. While I don't necessarily agree with all that he publishes, his emails are informative.

CCNet is a scholarly electronic network edited by Benny Peiser. To subscribe, send an e-mail to listserver@livjm.ac.uk ("subscribe cambridge-conference"). To unsubscribe send an e-mail to listserver@livjm.ac.uk ("unsubscribe cambridge-conference"). Information circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational use only. The attached information may not be copied or reproduced for any other purposes without prior permission of the copyright holders.

Monday, 10 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Bruce: Thanks, I'll give it a try.

As far as I can tell, Peiser is no more up to speed on bio-energy than the recent critics in Science. They were stuck in the 20th century, with no clue as to current developments.

Government mandates are not driving bio-energy, but are instead diverting it into non-productive areas and slowing down real progress.

Monday, 10 March, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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