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Biofuels: ACP's response to fossil fuel dependence
Draft ACP Policy Brief

The role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Supporting a sustainable biofuel sector
2007
Jan Cloin, Raymond Rivalland, Dr Maureen Wilson and Prof. Francis Yamba
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU


Introduction

ACP countries with their biomass resource potential are well positioned to effectively deploy biofuel in partially meeting their energy needs. The continued increase in the cost of fossil fuels coupled with the cut in prices paid for sugar exported to the EU have forced many ACP countries to seek innovative ways of diversifying agricultural production and meeting energy demands.

Biofuels are products from biological origin that have been converted into liquid, solid or gas form, depending on the raw material and the technology employed, for energy generation. Liquid biofuels can be used for heating, cooking and lighting, transport and power generation. Raw materials include renewable plant matter e.g. trees, grasses or agricultural crops and also animal waste. Bioethanol, bio-diesel and pure plant oils are the most common forms of liquid biofuels. Solid biofuels are plant matter such as wood chips, and other solid or woody biomass, that can directly be used as a fuel. The most widely used form of solid biofuels is bagasse, the fibre remaining when sugar cane is crushed to remove the cane juice for sugar production. It has been used for centuries for electricity generation at sugar mills and the excess can be sold to the national grid. Gaseous biofuels include biogas, which is produced by digesting organic waste and can be used for cooking, lighting and power generation at the village level.

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