Introduction Overview: World Energy Resources and the Need for Biomass for Energy and Lower Fossil Carbon Dioxide Emissions

  • Charles E. WymanEmail author
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 66)


Most of the world’s petroleum is located in politically unstable regions, while the United States’ production has continued to decline since 1970 as its reserves are depleted. The resulting large petroleum imports have significant strategic and economic consequences, and fossil fuels contribute most to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, development and commercialization of sustainable energy technologies are critical to (1) reduce our dependence on imported petroleum, and (2) reduce GHG emissions. Biofuels provide the only option we have for large-scale production of sustainable liquid transportation fuels that are vital to such uses as air travel, heavy truck transport, and long-distance travel. Fortunately, cellulosic biomass is plentiful and low in cost and can be converted into a range of products suitable for transportation by biological and thermochemical processes. Through combining more efficient use of fuels with advances in biomass production technologies, we could potentially replace a large fraction, even all, of the petroleum directly used for transportation as well as that consumed for its processing to fuels. Government policy is vital to break the log jam and accelerate applications that can build a foundation for new energy systems for transportation, particularly in light of the high volatility of petroleum prices.


Corn Stover Sustainable Energy Transportation Fuel Cellulosic Ethanol Cellulosic Biomass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering, Center for Environmental Research and Technology and Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Bourns College of EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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