Is creating biomass for biofuels efficient?

Above: Image © Ivan Castilho, Wikimedia Commons

Question

By the time you've grown crops, transported, processed, etc any sort of biomass - is it still an efficient source for biofuels?

Answer

Your question is excellent. You don't want to spend more $$ or fuel on transport than the price of the material itself! A decentralised model is necessary for the biorefinery concept to work. The plant needs to be close to the source of waste. I stress the term waste, the process to work must turn a waste into a commodity. Also the single product paradigm will not work, as you mention in your question. A biorefinery, however, extracting all the value from the material, may work. The biorefinery concept is that we should never only make one product, but a combination of production of different values. For example, coupling bioethanol synthesis with the bacterial production of biodegradable plastics.

Answered By: Dr. Richard Sparling

CurioCity

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