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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Jul 2009

TECHNOLOGY: Maties Join Global Bioenergy Project


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Biofuels researchers at Stellenbosch University have joined forces with some of the world’s leading experts in the field to seek resolution of issues related to the sustainable production of bioenergy.

The Global Sustainable Bioenergy: Feasibility and Implementation Paths project has been launched in response to the substantial confusion and growing uncertainty about whether the world should look to bioenergy (biofuels, heat, and electricity) to play a prominent role in the future.

The three-stage project is headed by Nathanael Greene of the American Natural Resources Defense Council, Tom Richard of Pennsylvania State University, and Lee Lynd of the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College and Mascoma Corporation.  

Prof Lynd will travel to Stellenbosch in August to lend support to the organizing committee for Africa.

Prof Emile van Zyl, Senior Chair of Energy Research: Bio-fuels and other clean alternative fuels at Stellenbosch University, has been nominated as the representative for Africa.

Prof van Zyl says the project will place new issues such as climate change, increased production yields and enhanced technological advancement within the context of sustainable bioenergy production. “The ultimate goal is to explore whether large-scale production of bioenergy is possible and at the same time benefits both humanity and the environment, or not.”

The project will aim to provide policy frameworks needed to ensure a sustainable result,” he says.

The first stage of the GSB project will consist of meetings held at five locations around the world to examine and plan for issues within a regional and continental context.

The first of these regional meetings will be held in November 2009 in Malaysia, and will be followed by meetings in the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, and the USA.

The South African meeting will be held from 15-17 March 2010 in Stellenbosch.

The second stage of the project will address the question:  Is it physically possible to meet a substantial fraction of future world mobility and/or electricity demand from plant sources while our global society also meets other important needs, including feeding humanity, habitat preservation, and maintaining environmental quality?

The third stage will address implementation paths including technical, social, economic, political and ethical issues, and will aim to develop policies and strategies for a responsible transition to a sustainable, world-wide bio-based society.

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