Global Warming and the Need for Liquid Fuels from Biomass (1998), Daniel Gibbs, BioEnergy '98, pp. 1344-1353, Proc.
Eighth National Bioenergy Conference, Madison, WI, Oct. 4-8,
Download pdf - Adobe Acrobat file (size: 464 kb)
There were approximately 680 million motor vehicles in the world
in 1997, with an annual growth rate of 2.7%, or a doubling time of 26 years.
Vehicle doubling times for populous emerging economies including China, India,
Mexico and the former USSR range from 6-10 years. Doubling motor vehicle use
will add an additional 1 gigatonne C emissions to the atmosphere every year
within 15-20 years.
In the U.S., switchgrass could be converted to ethanol to
produce 50 billion gallons of ethanol, or the energy equivalent of 34 billion
gallons of gasoline, 25% of 1994 U.S. liquid fuel consumption. The net carbon
reduction effect of switchgrass-derived ethanol will depend on the energy
sources and requirements for production, distribution and use. The low density
of baled switchgrass and the wide geographic distribution of production sites
pose problems to be solved, possibly through biomass compaction and large
numbers of smaller, geographically distributed ethanol plants. Further
development of ethanol separation technologies which use less energy, and
technologies to recover and burn biomass lignin are needed to achieve the
carbon-reduction potential of ethanol from biomass.
Keywords: global warming, climate change, liquid fuels, ethanol,
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