Recent Developments in Renewable Technologies: R&D Investment in Advanced Biofuels
AbstractInvestment in renewable energy, both in research and development and in commercial production, has risen significantly during the current decade. Although a variety of different renewable sources have been targeted for expansion, biomass technologies, especially those for converting biomass to liquid biofuels for transportation, have cornered a large share of the new investments. Cutting-edge knowledge in genomics and biotechnology, process chemistry, and engineering is being applied to produce new types of energy feedstock and process them into novel biofuels. If these investments bear fruit, liquid biofuels have the potential to displace a substantial amount of oil over the next few decades, with limited negative impact on food supply and the natural habitat. Energy-security and food-security constraints and environmental considerations will determine which technologies emerge as winners. The search for new transportation fuels is also giving rise to the development of new paradigms in innovation, commercialization, and regulation.
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