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Biofuels: from waste to energy

Using biomass as a source of energy is particularly elegant: you take waste that is all too often part of the problem when it comes to disposal, and you break it down to get gas which is then used as fuel. This episode looks at how biofuels can help us meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

The United Nations report, published in March 2023, is very clear, it says: “In this decade, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is essential to close the gap between existing adaptation and what is needed. Meanwhile, keeping warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.” Today we are looking at biofuels and their role in helping us meet those goals. A biofuel is a fuel that comes from biomass. Frequently produced as an organic waste from other processes, biomasses themselves can be hard to dispose of, heading for landfill or incineration. Here to talk through what can be used, how it is done and what the result can be, are three people involved in projects which have received EU support: Yeray Asensio is based at the Spanish water management company, Aqualia in their Department of Innovation and Technology. His expertise is related to waste water treatment, bioenergy generation and the use of sewage sludge employing bio electrochemical and electrochemical technologies which he applied during the SCALIBUR project. Cristina González is head of the Biotechnology Unit of the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study. She is particularly interested in recovering carbon from waste to produce biochemicals and biofuels using algae. González leads the PRODIGIO project. Coordinator of the BioFuel Fab project, Petteri Salonen is the CEO of Finrenes, a Finnish company that is working on turning wood and plant fibre waste into biomethane and fuel pellets.

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CORDIScovery, CORDIS, biofuels, SCALIBUR, PRODIGIO, BioFuel Fab, sewage, biogas, algae, plant fibres