Robert Brown, BEI Director
Jan. 22, 2016, 4:10 p.m.
1414 Molecular Biology Building
Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology Dept. Seminar
Biorenewable resources are organic materials of recent biological origin. Agriculture and silvaculture are the two most prominent biorenewable resources today, although algaculture has theoretical potential to dwarf both of these resources. Until recently, biorenewable resources were almost universally acknowledged as low carbon sources of energy, chemicals, and materials. As grain ethanol has grown into a 14 billion gallon industry, a growing number of critics have challenged the environmental credentials of biofuels, even claiming that bioenergy is worse than petroleum in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. In fact, properly practiced, bioenergy is a low carbon source of energy. It can even achieve the status of carbon negative energy, resulting in net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a technology recently recognized at the Paris talks on climate change as an important element of global carbon management. This talk will address the recent criticisms of bioenergy and illustrate how bioenergy can be made carbon negative.