Bioengineering of crops for biofuels and bioenergy
Biomass contributes a significant share of global primary energy consumption and its importance is likely to increase in future world energy scenarios. Current biomass use, although not sustainable in some cases, replaces fossil fuel consumption and results in avoided CO2 emissions, representing about 2.7 to 8.8 % of 1998 anthropogenic CO2 ... emissions. The global biomass energy potential is large, estimated at about 104 EJ/a. Hence, biomass has the potential to avoid significant fossil fuel consumption, potentially between 17and 36 % of the current level and CO2 emissions potentially between 12 and 44 % of the 1998 level. Modern biomass energy use can contribute to controlling CO2 emissions to the atmosphere while fostering local and regional development. There is significant scope then to integrate biomass energy with agriculture, forestry and climate change policies. Further the advantages from utilization of biomass include: liquid fuels produced from biomass contain no sulfur, thus avoiding SO2 emissions and also reducing emission of N0x. The production of compost as a soil conditioner avoids deterioration of soil. Improved agronomic practices of well managed biomass plantations will also provide a basis for environmental improvement by helping to stabilize certain soils, avoiding desertification which is already occurring rapidly in tropical countries. The creation of new employmentopportunities within the community and particularly in rural areas will be one of the major social benefits. The specific research work carried out in the areas of biomass production and utilization in less fertile areas will provide satisfactory answers to the double challenge of energy crisis and forced deforestation in the country and semi-arid and arid regions of Rajasthan. The possibility of conversion of biomass into liquid fuels and electricity will makeit possible to supply part of the increasing demand for primary energy and thus reduce crude petroleum imports which entail heavy expenditure on foreign exchange. The families Euphorbiaceae ( Euphorbia antisyphilitica, E. tithymaloides, E. caducifolia E. royleana E. neerifolia etc. and Ascelpiadaceae ( Calotropis gigantea and C. procera ) which have been worked out in previous years ( Kumar, 2000) will form the basis for further studies.
Original publication in
Bender, L. und Kumar, A. (Eds.): From soil to cell. Giessen 2001