Feedstocks for Lignocellulosic Biofuels

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Science  13 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5993, pp. 790-792
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189268

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In 2008, the world produced approximately 87 gigaliters of liquid biofuels, which is roughly equal to the volume of liquid fuel consumed by Germany that year. Essentially, all of this biofuel was produced from crops developed for food production, raising concerns about the net energy and greenhouse gas effects and potential competition between use of land for production of fuels, food, animal feed, fiber, and ecosystem services. The pending implementation of improved technologies to more effectively convert the nonedible parts of plants (lignocellulose) to liquid fuels opens diverse options to use biofuel feedstocks that reach beyond current crops and the land currently used for food and feed. However, there has been relatively little discussion of what types of plants may be useful as bioenergy crops.

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