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Biomass remains a key energy source for several billion people living in developing countries, and the production of liquid biofuels for transportation is growing rapidly. However, both traditional biomass energy and crop-based biofuels technologies have negative environmental and social impacts. The overall research challenge for bioenergy is to develop the technologies to produce useful products at low costs while minimizing the use of scarce resources such as arable land and water. This requires substantial advancements in modern biomass power generation and the success of liquid biofuel technologies that permit the use of lignocellulosic feedstocks or possibly algae. With such technologies, biomass resources...
There are unconventional fuels that may serve as near term major replacements for conventional mineral oil and natural gas. These include fuels from oil shale and bitumen, liquid fuels from coal, methane from methane hydrates, biofuels and the secondary fuel hydrogen. Here, these fuels will be reviewed as to their presumable stocks and life cycle wastes, emissions and inputs of natural resources. The unconventional fuels are usually characterized by a relatively poor source-to-burner energy efficiency when compared with current conventional mineral oil and gas. Apart from some varieties of hydrogen and biofuel, their life cycles are characterized by relatively large water inputs, emissions, and wastes. The unconventional...
The pricing of particular fuels, such as electricity, gas and oil, should be considered in terms of the development of pricing policies for the energy sector as a whole. The pursuit of an efficient allocation of resources will require that energy prices are related to their marginal costs. This simple prescription may have to be modified to allow for the achievement of other objectives, such as profitability and income distribution.