The world is currently faced with two significant problems: fossil fuel depletion and environmental degradation. The problems are continuously being exacerbated due to increasing global population and per capita energy consumption. To overcome the problems, renewable energy has been receiving increasing attention due to a variety of environmental, economic, and societal benefits. First-generation biofuels (ethanol from sugar or corn, and biodiesel from vegetable oils) are already in the market, and second-generation biofuels from nonfood biomass are under development. The goal of this book is to introduce readers to the biofuels obtained from nonfood biomass, and for reference to provide the technologies involved in first-generation biofuels derived from food sources.
Chapter 1 discusses various nonrenewable (petroleum, natural gas, coal) and renewable forms of energy, and describes air pollution and greenhouse gas emission caused by the use of fossil fuels. Recent concern about carbon dioxide emissions, carbon sequestration, and carbon credits are discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 provides an in-depth description of various renewable energy sources, including biomass; hydropower; geothermal, wind, solar, and ocean energy; and biogas. For the production of biofuels, the global availability of biomass is discussed in Chapter 4 along with the characterization and variations of biomass.
Conventional ethanol production from corn or sugarcane by fermentation technology is discussed in Chapter 5. Current techniques and various unit operations involved are presented, including saccharification, fermentation, distillation, and dehydration. The second-generation ethanol from cellulose is described in Chapter 6.