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Effects of Global Warming Rising sea level Submergence of low lying costal & riverbed areas Loss of wildlife habitats Warm water endangers plant & animal species Climate changes Heat waves create hurricanes and flooding Drought areas increase Increase occurrences of wildfires
We know fossil fuel emissions are part of the global warming problem Can we decrease or eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels? By using biomass for biofuels it is a possibility
Biomass is anything that is alive or was alive a short time ago. • Trees, crops, garbage and animal waste are all biomass. Biomass gets its energy from the sun. • Plants store the suns energy in leaves and roots • When biomass is burned it creates heat • We can also change the energy in biomass into fuels with the help of biotechnology • Biomass energy is renewable
Types of biomass for biofuel Maize and Sugar Cane Sugars from maize and sugar cane are fermented to ethanol to be used as a biofuel Enzymes have been modified biotechnologically to increase the rate in which maize starch converts to sugar Transgenic lines are being sought for an increase of total concentration of sugar in sugar cane
Types of biomass for biofuel Maize and Sugar Cane for Ethanol Pros- no carbon emissions Water soluble and easily biodegradable renewable biomass Cons- fertilizer use, insecticide use and use of fossil fuels for farm equipment and transport Uses land necessary for production of food
Types of biomass for biofuelpalm oil, soybean oil & oilseed rape Oils go through an esterfication process which cleaves glycerol from the fatty acids. Fatty acids ( the methyl esters) are used as biodiesel. For use as biodiesel the long fatty acid chains of the oils have to be broken. Oils can be genetically engineered to suppress elongases, shortening the fatty acid chains.
Types of biomass for biofuelpalm oil, soybean oil & oilseed rapefor Biodiesel Pros- no carbon emissions diesel engines can run on biodiesel without any alteration to the engine Renewal biomass Cons-Uses land necessary for food production Emits nitrogen oxide which causes smog and contributes to ozone
Types of biomass for biofuelCellulosics Corn strover (leaves & stalks), switchgrass (a perennial), poplar trees & eucalyptus Biotechnological solutions are being sought to decrease lignin content & increase cellulose In poplar trees genetic modification would provide dense growth with increased synthesis of cellulose and hemicellulose
Types of biomass for biofuelCellulosics for Ethanol Pros- no carbon emissions Strover is recycled instead of being burned for clearing. Use of switchgrass and poplars provide higher yield without fertilizers Cons- better technologies needed to degrade or limit lignin content
Cellulosics have the potential for the greatest input/output result & emit the least amount of greenhouse gases http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/10/biofuels/biofuels-interactive
Proposal Use of cellulosics are economically relevant No costs for fertilizers and related agricultural costs Abundant renewal resource – greater biomass yield per growth period Does not compete with food sources-increases in feedstock biofuel production increases food prices 20%-30% according to the International Monetary Fund Production plants in America would have a positive economic impact.
Use of cellulosics are politically relevant The American Clean Energy and Security Act requires that emissions be reduced 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the U.S. to produce 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels by 2022 President Obama has budgeted $150 million for clean energy research over the next ten years expecting renewable energy sources to create 300,000 jobs
Use of cellulosics are environmentally relevant Cellulosics can grow on lands not suitable for food crops avoiding food/fuel competition for land Cellulosic crops prevent soil erosion Provide ecosystems for plant and animal species maintaining biodiversity There is a variety of cellulosic sources available for energy usage based on geographic locations
The breakdown of cellulosic biomass releases celluloses and hemicellulose hydrolyzed to 5&6 carbon chain sugars for fermentation
The challenge is the development of lignin reduction in cellulosics to take full advantage of abundant cellulosic biomass for the production of biofuel This may be achieved transgenically by creating transformants with increased cellulose having a more biodegradable structure using the CBD gene with RNAi techniques to modulate the lignin content RNAi changes the way the enzymes perform in the phenylpropanoid pathway that synthesizes lignin
Additional benefits of Cellulosics Cellulose is the most abundant biological material available Corn strover and wheat byproducts from farming can be repurposed for biofuel leaving enough by products for farmers to enrich soil without depleting food sources Perennial switchgrass can be cultivated increasing revenue for farmers Modification of fast growing poplars provides biomass needed to meet federal requirements