Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2010, Vol. 1 ›› Issue (2): 117-122.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-764x.2010.02.003

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TowardsSustainableCellulosicBioenergy

Randall W.Gentry1*,Gary S.Sayler2,ZHUANG Jie3   

  1. 1 Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.;
    2 Center of Environmental Biotechnology, Department of Microbiology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.;
    3 Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, Center of Environmental Biotechnology, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.
  • Received:2010-05-18 Revised:2010-06-07 Online:2010-06-30 Published:2010-06-30
  • Contact: Randall W.Gentry

Abstract: Biomass is an abundant, domestically available source of clean energy that has the potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass is attractive because of its low fossil energy-to-carbon ratio compared to corn and other grain-based technologies. However, biofuel production systems are not simple. They are subject to multiple factors: energy supply, economic development in rural communities, land and ecosystem protection, potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emission, and social training. This paper provides a brief overview of the environmental and economic impacts of bioenergy development. Different regions should have their own optimized portfolio of biomass species or energy crops according to regional climate and ecological conditions. Near-future biotechnology challenges include understanding and manipulation of biomass formation and breakdown of cell wall, biomass pretreatment and selection of plant variants with improved sugar yields, and high throughput characterization and selection of enzymes and microbes for cellulose deconstruction. Life-cycle assessment and development of sustainable criteria and indicators are addressed in addition to the emphasis of the importance of environmental security and public health associated with bioenergy development.

Key words: bioenergydevelopment, cellulosicbioenergy, greenhouseemission, energysecurity