Advanced lignocellulosic conversion technologies and their potential role in sustainable bioenergy production in southern Africa
Thu, 2012-08-30 15:00
W.H. (Emile) Van Zyl
SANERI Senior Chair in Energy Research in Biofuels Program,
Departments of Microbiology and Process Engineering,
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
August 30, 2012
6201 Microbial Sciences Building
University of Wisconsin Madison
W.H. (Emile) Van Zyl
Bioenergy, particularly biofuels, have played a pivotal role in Africa in the past and could help address the need for energy expansion in the future, especially when considering up to 80% of African countries rely on this traditional system to meet their energy needs and realizing Africa has the largest potential for bioenergy production in the world. Lignocellulose is globally recognized as the preferred biomass for the production of a variety of fuels and chemicals that may result in the creation of a sustainable chemicals and fuels industry, with significant benefits in agricultural development, also avoiding the food versus fuel debate that is of particular importance in the African context.
The Chair of Energy Research (CoER): Biofuels focuses on the technological interventions required to develop commercially-viable 2nd generation lignocellulose conversion technologies to biofuels in Southern Africa. The CoER : Biofuels research program undertook to develop both biochemical (CBP yeast development) and thermo-chemical technologies for complete conversion of plant biomass to biofuels. These technologies will be discussed briefly, as well as innovative methods of process integration, in order to minimize the capital investment, maximize energy efficiency and improve overall economics. Some examples for energy integration between lignocellulosic conversion processes and adjacent industrial processes (including existing bio-based industries) to achieve more attractive financial returns, will be discussed.
The potential of Africa to produce plant biomass is at least as large as any other continent and far exceeds the requirements for food and basic needs for the African population. This provides for an opportunity to use agriculture and forestry to produce, in addition to food, bioenergy using clean and efficient biomass conversion technologies. Actions need to be taken to ensure that Africa benefits along the full value chain of bioenergy supply and utilization. These include scalable demonstration projects using latest state of the art technologies and African raw materials for learning perspectives e.g. training to strengthen local manpower and human capital development.
Submitted by mbroeren on Thu, 2012-08-16 14:50