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  Section: General Biotechnology / Biotechnology & Environment
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Biomass Energy (Bio-energy)

In Biomass : A Renewable Source of Energy much has been described about biomass and its resources. In this context various techniques for the conversion of biomass into energy have also been discussed.

However, in the present section different forms of energy obtainable from a number of sources are described in detail.

Biomass based energy (bio-energy), derived from sun via biological routes, has been fulfilling the human need for centuries as fossil fuel. With the expanding world population, increasing energy demand and diminishing stock of fossil fuel, most of the countries have paid much attention on the bioenergy programmes.


However, there is basic need to develop technologies and standardize the techniques, to reach to village level. Among the various non-conventional sources of energy, forest biomass plays a significant role in solving the fuel wood crisis. It is obvious that one-seventh of world's fuel supplies are biomass. This figure is equivalent to 20 million barrels of oil per day.

The area of bio-energy involves sophisticated research and development work in botany (plant physiology and genetics), agriculture, forestry,phytochemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, fuel research, heat physics and many aspects of engineering, so that a complete package from agriculture, processing, conversion, engine systems and delivery to users is developed (Khoshoo, 1988).

Many countries viz., Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sweden, U.K., U.S.A., are promoting research and development activities in bioenergy. In addition, several international agencies, such as Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), United Nations Environmental Organizations (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and World Health Organization (WHO) are also engaged in bioenergy research and development programmes.

Energy plantations


Social forestry


Silviculture energy farms (short rotation forestry)


Advantages of short rotation management

Petroleum plants (Petroplants)


Hydrocarbon from higher Plants


Hevea Rubber





Guayule and Russian dandalion




Algal hydrocarbons

Alcohols : the liquid fuel


General account


Ethanol production


Fermentable substrate


Hydrolysis of lignocellulosic materials


Effect of substrate composition on hydrolysis




Recovery of ethanol

Gaseous fuels : biogas and hydrogen


What is biogas


Biogas technology in India


Benefits from biogas plants


Feed stock materials


Biogas production anaerobic digestion






Methanogenesis-methanogens, mechanism of methane production


Biogas production from differ­ent feed stocks





Water hyacinth


Municipal wastes


Factors affecting methane formation

Hydrogen : a new fuel


Photobiological process of H2 production


Hydrogenase and H2 production




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