High-Grade Fuels from Biomass Farming: Potentials and Constraints

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Science  05 Oct 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4414, pp. 24-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4414.24


The key parameters controlling the productivity and the cost of net high-grade fuel from a system for biomass agriculture and conversion are analyzed. Performance depends sensitively on a "symbiotic" interaction between agronomy and technology. The conditions for obtaining net productivity and costs are explored for U.S. grain alcohol as a reference point. Currently practiced technology consumes more high-grade fuel than it generates. Some potentials and constraints for future systems, including use of other plant species and conversion systems, are explored.