domingo, 11 de marzo de 2007

Biofuel Plan 2020

Geopolitical drivers, economic and strategic factors and global climate change have contributed to the increased interest and development of renewable energy resources. In addition, at the dawn of the 21st century, U.S. and E.U. demand for petroleum-based fuels continues to expand faster than the projected increased in domestic production.
In response, European leaders have recently announced ambitious plans for rapidly increasing the use of bio-fuels to at least 10% by 2020 [BBC1]. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the US Department of Energy Office has envisioned a future with the 30% of power motor vehicles supplied with bio-fuels by the year 2030.

The idea of bio-fuels is, of course, not new. Two decades ago, Brazil succeed in supplying bio-ethanol (basically alcohol derived from sugar-cane) for motor vehicles in a large-scale [BBC2]. However, the production cost was still compatible with the oil prices . Today the scientific scenario is quite different, which enormously encourages an intense research for improving the bio-fuel synthesis efficiency.
New genomic and metabolic data together with remarkable advances in genetically bio-engineered micro-organisms have made it possible to devise novel cost-efficient bio-fuel production methods from cellulosic biomass. Although Bio-fuels represent a new exciting avenue of energy sources, this technology still faces important challenges. Mode details on these concrete problems and the approaches that might overcome them in the next posts!

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