Category Renewables-Based Technology

To Society

Goran Berndes

1.1 Introduction

Stocks and flows of biomass are vital components of the biogeochemical system of the Earth. Biomass builds up the ecosystem, which contains the reservoir of genetic and species diversity and provides environmental services such as water purification, waste assimilation, soil fertility rehabilitation, water runoff regulation and flood control. Biomass is also crucial for human subsistence in other ways as it serves as food, and can be used for energy purposes and for the production of, e. g., sawn wood, paper, and various chemicals...

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Today, the concepts ‘renewable resources’ and ‘sustainability’ are receiving a great deal of attention in the academic, government and industrial communities. Renewables-based technology is believed to contribute to the sustainability of modern mankind. Indeed, it has turned out, particularly during the past decade, that fossil resource-based economies are vulnerable with respect to sustainability. With the current fossil oil consumption rate, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy of June 2004 indicates that we have reserves left for about 40 years. Global warming induced by fossil resource consumption ranks highly on the international scientific and political agenda...

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Series Preface

Renewable resources, their use and modification are involved in a multitude of important processes with a major influence on our everyday lives. Applications can be found in the energy sector, chemistry, pharmacy, the textile industry, paints and coatings, to name but a few.

The field of renewable resources crosses several scientific disciplines (agriculture, biochemistry, chemistry, technology, environmental sciences, forestry), which makes it very difficult to have an expert view on the complicated interaction. Therefore, the idea of creating a series of scientific books, focusing on specific topics concerning renewable resources, has been very opportune and can help to clarify some of the underlying connections in this field.

In our fast changing world, trends are not only characteristi...

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Renewables-Based Technology

For the past two decades, more and more people have become convinced that our economy is shifting quite rapidly towards a biobased economy. Not only has academic interest in renewable resources been growing, but also governmental institutions and companies are paying attention to the revival of the use of renewable resources. It is indeed a revival, since our economy was completely biobased until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It only changed through the advert of petrochemistry and the availa­bility of cheap petroleum-derived products. Due to the limited reserves of fossil fuels (with prices rising to 70 dollars/barrel at this time), the broad availability of renewable resources is appealing as a source of materials and energy...

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