Development and economic growth throughout the world will result in increased demand for energy. Currently almost 90% of the total world energy demand is met utilizing fossil fuels. Petroleum and other liquid fuels include 37% of the total fossil reserves consumed for transportation and other industrial processes. Emission of harmful gases in the form of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and mercury are the major concerns from the combustion of conventional energy sources. In addition to these pollutants, huge amount of carbon dioxide is liberated into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the green house gases which cause global warming. Though technology is being developed to sequester the CO2 from stationary power generating sources, it is difficult to implement such a technology in non-stationary automobile IC engines.
Some of the methods which has been studied to reduce the amount of CO2 being released from the IC engines include blending ethanol with gasoline. Ethanol produced from corn, sugarcane bagasse and lignocellulosic biomass is considered to be carbon neutral. It is assumed that the carbon released during combustion of ethanol will be readily absorbed by the plants and will be recycled and hence the carbon released in such a process will not be accounted in the carbon footprint. But such an approach with biomass is being challenged by a number of recent studies. Land use change, use of electrical energy and fossil based energy for collection, and transportation and processing of biomass, energy conversion efficiency and productivity of forest land impacts the decision on carbon neutrality of biomass based fuels. The use of short rotation woody crops with much higher yield and reduced costs can serve as a source for ethanol production or energy applications.[Annamalai K (2013) Respiratory Quotient (Rq), Exhaust Gas Analyses, CO2 Emission and Applications in Automobile Engineering]
Last date updated on July, 2014