Biomass, Present and Future

  • J. Shen-Miller
Part of the Nato Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 22)


Normally agriculture means the production of food and fiber. Today’s agriculture is not only the manufacturing of food and fiber, but also the production of fuel; the three F’s of food, fiber, and fuel make up agriculture. I would like to discuss the potential uses of biomass as fuel. We are all aware that our natural resources are not infinite. According to one estimate (Klass, 1974), the average depletion rate of global coal, oil, and natural gas is between 50 and 150 years. In the United States the fossil fuel reserve is about 500 years (Fisher, 1974). Other energy sources, such as nuclear, geothermal, and wind, will probably be the major fuels of the future, but their development will take time. Therefore, alternate approaches are essential for supplementing the overall energy need. Tapping solar energy for fuel from biomass is just such an alternate. It is particularly reasonable in regions where the supply is high and the fuel demand is low.


Anaerobic Fermentation Fuel Demand Biogas Digester Fossil Fuel Reserve Major Fuel 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Shen-Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.National Science FoundationUSA

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