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Biorefinery

Taking a Step Towards Sustainability with 3rd Generation Biorefining

| Author / Editor: Pasi Rousu / Dominik Stephan

A biorefinery based on 3G biorefining technology processes non-food biomasses, such as sugarcane bagasse and straws and even wood, into pure cellulosic sugars, advanced biofuels, multiple value-added biochemicals and biocoal while producing surplus bioenergy into the grid
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A biorefinery based on 3G biorefining technology processes non-food biomasses, such as sugarcane bagasse and straws and even wood, into pure cellulosic sugars, advanced biofuels, multiple value-added biochemicals and biocoal while producing surplus bioenergy into the grid (Picture: Chempolis India)

Renewable energy has been in demand all over the world. As a result, considerable investment is seen into 2G and 3G technologies of cellulosic biomasses.

The global thirst for energy is constantly increasing. Amongst rising energy prices and increasing concern over global environmental issues, searching for alternative and cleaner energy sources has become the prime objective for the energy industry and the governments of various countries. These global concerns have influenced the ongoing and significant investment in both conventional (sugar, starch, plant, and animal-oil-derived ethanol and diesel) and advanced (biomass-derived or ‘drop-in’ like) biofuels and bio based chemicals.

It is likely that in order to live sustainably on this planet and combat climate change, we need to make more efficient use of global resources and as a result ‘pioneer’ advanced biofuel plants using biomass residues as their feedstock are coming into existence.

The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 contained a number of mandates with respect to renewable fuels. One of these mandates called for the production of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic or biomassbased fuel by the year 2022. This simply means producing ethanol from nonsugar and nonstarch sources such as sugarcane bagasse, corn stover and cobs, wheat straw, switchgrass, wood, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, garden and lawn clippings, and rice hulls.

Renewable fuels have been mandated globally to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, the role of advanced biofuels has been even more emphasized. As result, more and more investments are seen into 2G and 3G biorefining where cellulosic biomasses, such as straw, bagasse and wood are processed.

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