From Plant Cell Walls to Biofuels— Arabidopsis thaliana Model

Authored by: Sivakumar Pattathil , Utku Avci , Ajaya Kumar Biswal , Ajay K. Badhan

Handbook of Bioenergy Crop Plants

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439816844
eBook ISBN: 9781315099255
Adobe ISBN:


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Recently, interest in biofuels has increased because of socioeconomic and environmental concerns. Because biofuel production from plant material is a more carbon dioxide (CO2)-neutral source of energy, biofuels are an environmentally friendly fuel alternative. The fundamental source for bioenergy lies in the unique potential of plants to harvest light energy from the sun through photo-synthesis and to use that energy to capture atmospheric CO2 and fix it into the plant biomass. Under optimal growth conditions, Miscanthus gigantious could harvest more than 2% of annual incident solar radiation (Beale and Long 1995; Somerville 2007). By cultivating miscanthus on approximately 3.2% of the terrestrial surface area, Somerville (2007) again states that given the average rate of solar radiation [i.e., 120,000 terrawatts (TW)], 2% solar conversion efficiency, and an energy recovery value of 50%, all human energy needs could be met by biofuels (at the usage level of 11.73 TW). Thus, suitable plant crops can be grown on a large scale for capturing and storing solar energy efficiently. Again, this makes plant biomass a carbon neutral energy source for the production of fuels.

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