Climate change and ethanol production from sugarcane

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The increasing concentration of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) is warming the earths atmosphere and the phenomenon is known as climate change or global warming. Climate change continues to be a topic of considerable scientific debate and public concern. The concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere has been significantly increased due to human activities. This has given rise to growing concern about the consequences of such increase on global warming and climate change.


The major factors contributing to the global climate change include polluted emissions by excessive burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and excessive use of recourses in agriculture cultivation.


Excessive use of recourses in agriculture cultivation has negative impact on biodiversity through volatilization, fixation or either by leaching. Agricultural production plays an important role on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration and agricultural soils are also viewed as a large contributor to GHG emissions, especially CH4 and CO2 and N2O.


About 27 per cent of primary energy is used for transportation.


Approximately 28 per cent of the energy in the EU25 countries is consumed by transportation, of which, more than 80 per cent is for road transport. Transportation fuels are thus promising targets for reduction in GHG emissions. Existing requirement of oil is about 12 million tons a day with a projection to increase to 16 million tons per day by 2030. While 30 per cent of the global oil consumption accounts for transport; a striking 60 per cent of the rising demand is expected till 2030.


Pakistan, in particular is estimated to have raised carbon emissions from 76 million tons in 1990 to 200 million tons in 2012.


It is estimated that CO2 emissions with an average increase of 6.5 per cent annually will grow to 482 million tons by 2020. The transport sector is a significant contributor to GHG emissions with an estimated 15 million tons in 1990. With a proportionate increase in GHG emissions with the 100 per cent increase in motor vehicles, the sector will be responsible for the emission of 30 million ton CO2 by 2020. To protect the environment we should have to move towards those resources conservation and using by products which have less harmful effect on environment.


Sugarcane plays an important role in the national economy in many developing countries, but lot of sugarcane farmers live under the poverty line. Most resource-poor farmers are forced to use their limited resources to produce sufficient amount of food for their family, leading to the reduction and degradation in resource potential. Total cultivated on an area of the world is about 25 million ha. Sugarcane is not only grown for sugar purpose but sugarcane baggesse which is material which is left after juice extraction from sugarcane it also important in reducing the climate hazards by producing ethanol production, which reduces the use of petroleum.


Countries like Brazil utilizing sugarcane by products very efficiently.


The trend towards biofuels and renewable energy has continued unabated since the oil crisis flared up in the last decade. Sugarcane is ideally positioned to play an increasing role in producing bioethanol. On the back of their successfully integrated sugar/ethanol/cogeneration business models, the generation of surplus electricity from bagasse is already well established; another benefit is that carbon dioxide emission is reduced where coal is replaced by bagasse/trash as a fuel.


Rapidly advancing technologies based on biotechnology and bioprocess engineering has converted bagasse into a wide range of other products. From an economic standpoint, the prices paid to bioethanol manufacturers in world relative to gasoline, have been highly attractive and reinforce the importance of promoting it on a competitive basis. The commercialization of second generation technologies capable of better utilizing the cellulosic component of sugarcane are expected to further speed up this trend.


In Pakistan as such no work has been done at a large scale to produce ethanol from sugarcane byproducts. Its time of need to utilize by products of sugarcane to produce biofuel and generate energy resources in Pakistan.


We believe research on the environmental impact assessment issue is strongly needed because with changing climate and extensive emission of GHGs causes the considerable damage to the environment and ultimately crop will also be affected. Agriculture development is not possible without development of techniques to adapt the current changes in environment.


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Published in: Volume 06 Issue 08

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=12907