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Social Background on Bioenergy Uses

Using biomass as an alternative to fossil energy helps to greatly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. The carbon dioxide emitted from burning biomass to obtain energy, or bioenergy, is absorbed by plants from the atmosphere through photosynthesis within the plant growth process.
Further, the expectations for bioenergy use are now higher than ever. There are concerns over the recent rise in crude oil prices and future depletion of fossil resources, as well as a push to move away from dependence on nuclear power due to the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Energy procurement issues on a world wide level
Environmental Issues
Restriction of greenhouse gas emission and reduction of carbon dioxide
Petroleum Issues
Rising crude oil prices and depleting fossil fuel resources
Nuclear Power Issues
Need to reduce dependence on nuclear power after the Great East Japan Earthquake

History of Biomass Resources

Bioethanol and biodiesel have been developed as alternative fuels to conventional gasoline since the oil crises in the 1970s. First generation alternative fuels used edible biomass, such as corn, sugarcane, palm and soybeans. As the market rapidly expanded, however, food security and sustainability became issues. Then in the 1990s, countries pushed development of technology using second generation fuels from non-edible resources which do not affect food prices.
However, the process of producing fuel and chemicals from wood and other rigid materials is more costly than production costs for first generation biomass, driving discussion of materials with even more benefit. It is here that microalgae is attracting attention. Heralded as a third generation biomass to solve these issues, research on microalgae has suddenly taken off since the turn of the century.
1st generation 1970s〜
Conflict with food security Mass consumption of water resource
Terrestrial plants
[Oil material] : Palm, Soybeans etc.
[Ethanol] : Corn, Sugarcane etc.
2nd generation 1990s〜
Productivity improvement,Reduction in production cost
Non-Edible resources
[Oil material] : Waste cooking oil etc.
[Ethanol] : Cellulose, Municipal waste etc.
3rd generation 2000s〜
Mass culture ~ Development of extraction technology Improvement in lipid productivity of algae
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