How will advanced (lignocellulosic) biofuels develop? It is a much more technically demanding challenge and it will take longer to unfold than grain based ethanol. While chemically similar as polymers of simple sugars, there are important differences between starch and cellulose. Those differences manifest in the way we have traditionally used them. We eat starch. We build houses out of cellulose. Processes involving hydrolysis and fermentation face far greater hurdles with lignocellulosic feedstocks than with starch. In fact it's quite likely that no single technology will dominate the 2nd generation biofuels industry. There are many potential pathways involving biochemical, thermochemical and chemical processes. It's too early to pick the winners. Different situations will favor different solutions. The speaker will explore promising developments that are likely to shape the emerging biofuels industry together with some of the challenges and uncertainties. One conclusion that stands out clearly among all the uncertainty is that the chemical engineering profession will play a dominant role in making sustainable biofuels a reality and thereby contributing in a significant way to the resolution of critical global issues.&'
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