Energy Plant Species - Their use and impact on environment

N. El Bassam 
James and James  1998  

334 Pages  ISBN 9781873936757      £75.00


Today, it is estimated that more than two billion people worldwide lack access to modern energy resources. Although we know that energy is absolutely essential for development, relatively little attention has been devoted to this matter at national and international levels.

The magnitude of energy consumed per capita has become one of the indicators of the 'modernization' and progress of a country. Thus energy issues and policies have been strongly concerned with increasing the supply of energy. The strategic and environmental consequences of energy consumption patterns have been neglected for a long time. The world continues to seek energy to satisfy its needs without giving consideration to the social, environmental, economic and security impacts of energy use.

Many of the crises on our planet arise from the desire to secure supplies of raw materials, particularly energy sources, at low prices. The pressure will become even greater as fossil energy feedstocks and uranium are depleted. Although some of these resources might last a little longer than predicted, especially if additional reserves are discovered, the main problem of 'scarcity' will remain, and this represents the greatest challenge to humanity.

It is now clear that current approaches to energy are unsustainable and not renewable. Of all renewable energy sources generally the largest contribution, especially in the short and medium range, is expected to come from biomass. Fuels derived from energy crops are not only potentially renewable, but are also sufficiently similar in origin to the fossil fuels (which also began as biomass) to provide direct substitution. They can be converted into a wide variety of energy carriers using existing and novel conversion technologies, and thus have the potential to be significant new sources of energy into the twenty-first century.

This book deals with various aspects related to the potential of energy plant species that can be grown on plantations for production of fuel feedstocks, and with appropriate upgrading and conversion technologies, along with their environmental, economic and social dimensions. Most grateful thanks are due to B. Prochnow who did the most arduous and time consuming work of preparing the manuscript. I would also like to thank S.G. Agong, W. Bacher, C. Baldelli, D.G. Christian, L. Dajue, C.D. Dalianis, W. Elbersen, J. Fernandez, A.K. Gupta, K.Jakob, S.F. Khalifa, V. Petrikova, A. Riedacker, S. Roy, and M. Satin for providing contributions, as well as S. Klahr and A. Voges for their efforts in providing additional information.

I wish and hope that this book will contribute to the increase in interest and understanding in the vital economic and social roles of biomass to meet the growing demand for energy and to face the future challenges of limited fossil fuel reserves and global warming.

Table of Contents

Part I

  1. Basic Elements of Biomass Accumulation
  2. Harvesting, Transportation and Storage
  3. Conversion Technologies
  4. Environmental Impact
  5. Economic and Social Dimensions
  6. Prospects for Renewable Energy

Part I - References

Part II

  1. Energy Plant Species



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