The Benefits of Plant Material: Cellulosic Biomass

Cellulosic biomass or cellulosic ethanol is actually a type of biofuel which is obtained from lignocellulose, which is mainly found in grasses, woods and other parts of plants (inedible parts). The production of biofuel from plant cells originated in Germany in the later part of the 19th century.  The biomass plants which could be used to generate biofuel from plants made their way to the US during World War II. However, it was only in the last few decades that this process have gained widespread acceptance and the US Government has been trying hard to promote the method of obtaining biofuel from plants. The easy availability of plants and plant based needed for obtaining biofuel through this process has made it very popular.

Why Opt for Cellulosic Biomass?

The lignocellulose is by far the most abundant terrestrial biomass, which is cheaper and easily accessible. From a chemical standpoint, this structural component of plants is a complex material, which consists of three main components: cellulose (a crystalline polymer of glucose), hemicellulose (a heterogeneous polymer of hexoses and pentoses) and lignin (a very interlaced polymer of substituted phenols). Unlike vegetable oils, these biopolymers are fairly inert chemically and have much higher oxygen content (O / C ≈ 1). The lignocellulose is found in abundance in the waste of agriculture and forestry (yard trimmings, sawdust, and straw of cereals …). Therefore, its possible use for fuel generation does not interfere with food production and could help increase the profitability of agriculture in many rural areas.

Is It a Better Alternative?

Implementation of Cellulosic Biomass MethodThe availability of materials that provide lignocellulose used in the production of biofuels have added to the importance of cellulosic biomass production. Due to several reasons, obtaining biofuel from plant material is highly economical and is widely perceived as the best method for obtaining alternate sources of energy.  Scientists and researchers estimate that the forest resources in most countries across the planets are sufficient to yield enough lignocellulose, which can be used to make biofuels. However, the feasibility, usability, purity and other factors affecting the quality of the biofuel obtained in this method has often been questioned by quite a few researchers. Hence, further studies are needed to be conducted to determine the above mentioned factors.

People, around the world, are aware of the fact that in order to save the planet and its available natural energy resources we have to start using alternate sources of energy such as biodiesels and other biofuels. The governments of many countries, including the United Sates Government, have taken the responsibility of encouraging the production and usage of alternate or green sources of energy. In their efforts, they are aggressively propagating the usage of lignocellulose or cellulosic biomass in the production of biofuels. Over the years, millions of dollars has been granted by the US Government to facilitate studies and researches which will make it a viable option. Many companies dealing with renewable sources of energy has been encouraged to adopt this method of creating biofuels and they have been given many subsidies for this purpose as well.

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