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Biofuels and the biorefinery concept


  • Taylor, Gail


Liquid fuels can be made by refining a range of biomass materials, including oil-rich and sugar-rich crops such as oil-seed rape and sugar beet, biomass that consists mainly of plant cell walls (second generation lignocellulosics), macro- and micro-alga, or material that would now be discarded as waste. This can include animal bi-products as well as waste wood and other resources. In the medium-term, plant cell (lignocellulosic) material is likely to be favoured as the feedstock for biorefineries because of its availability. The UK may make use of a number of these options because of its complex agricultural landscape. There are now a range of targets for biofuel use in the UK, although their environmental effects are disputed. The technology of refining these materials is well known. Possible outputs include biodiesel and bioethanol, both of which can be used as transport fuel. Other potential products include hydrogen, polymers and a wide range of value-added chemicals, making this technology important in a post-petrochemical world. Biorefineries could use cogeneration to produce electricity. The paper identifies a range of research and development priorities which must be met if this opportunity is to be exploited fully.

Suggested Citation

  • Taylor, Gail, 2008. "Biofuels and the biorefinery concept," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4406-4409, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:12:p:4406-4409

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moraes, Bruna S. & Zaiat, Marcelo & Bonomi, Antonio, 2015. "Anaerobic digestion of vinasse from sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil: Challenges and perspectives," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 888-903.
    2. Jeong, Tae-Su & Kim, Young-Soo & Oh, Kyeong-Keun, 2012. "A kinetic assessment of glucose production from pretreated Gelidium amansii by dilute acid hydrolysis," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 207-211.
    3. Subhadra, Bobban G., 2010. "Sustainability of algal biofuel production using integrated renewable energy park (IREP) and algal biorefinery approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5892-5901, October.
    4. Subhadra, Bobban G. & Edwards, Mark, 2011. "Coproduct market analysis and water footprint of simulated commercial algal biorefineries," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(10), pages 3515-3523.
    5. Lopolito, Antonio & Nardone, Gianluca & Prosperi, Maurizio & Sisto, Roberta & Stasi, Antonio, 2011. "Modeling the bio-refinery industry in rural areas: A participatory approach for policy options comparison," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 18-27.
    6. Bauer, Fredric & Hulteberg, Christian, 2014. "Isobutanol from glycerine – A techno-economic evaluation of a new biofuel production process," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 261-268.
    7. Walls, W.D. & Rusco, Frank & Kendix, Michael, 2011. "Biofuels policy and the US market for motor fuels: Empirical analysis of ethanol splashing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 3999-4006, July.
    8. Adekunle, Ademola & Orsat, Valerie & Raghavan, Vijaya, 2016. "Lignocellulosic bioethanol: A review and design conceptualization study of production from cassava peels," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 518-530.
    9. Subhadra, Bobban & Edwards, Mark, 2010. "An integrated renewable energy park approach for algal biofuel production in United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4897-4902, September.
    10. Puri, Munish & Abraham, Reinu E. & Barrow, Colin J., 2012. "Biofuel production: Prospects, challenges and feedstock in Australia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(8), pages 6022-6031.
    11. González-García, Sara & Gasol, Carles M. & Gabarrell, Xavier & Rieradevall, Joan & Moreira, Ma Teresa & Feijoo, Gumersindo, 2010. "Environmental profile of ethanol from poplar biomass as transport fuel in Southern Europe," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1014-1023.
    12. Jean-Marc Roda & Maxime Goralski & Anthony Benoist & Anaphel Baptiste & Valentine Boudjema & Theodoros Galanos & Marine Georget & Jean-Eudes Hévin & Simon Lavergne & Frédéric Eychenne & Kan Ern Liew &, 2015. "Sustainability of biojet-fuel in Malaysia," Selected Books, CIRAD, Forest department, UPR40, edition 1, volume 1, number 17 edited by Jean-Marc Roda.
    13. Maity, Sunil K., 2015. "Opportunities, recent trends and challenges of integrated biorefinery: Part I," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1427-1445.
    14. Kes McCormick & Niina Kautto, 2013. "The Bioeconomy in Europe: An Overview," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 1-20, June.
    15. Russo, D. & Dassisti, M. & Lawlor, V. & Olabi, A.G., 2012. "State of the art of biofuels from pure plant oil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 4056-4070.
    16. Rawat, I. & Ranjith Kumar, R. & Mutanda, T. & Bux, F., 2013. "Biodiesel from microalgae: A critical evaluation from laboratory to large scale production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 444-467.
    17. Shortall, O.K. & Raman, Sujatha & Millar, Kate, 2015. "Are plants the new oil? Responsible innovation, biorefining and multipurpose agriculture," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 360-368.
    18. Trumbo, Jennifer L. & Tonn, Bruce E., 2016. "Biofuels: A sustainable choice for the United States' energy future?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 147-161.
    19. Subhadra, Bobban G., 2011. "Macro-level integrated renewable energy production schemes for sustainable development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2193-2196, April.


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