Utilization of biomass for energy and industry allows a significant quantity of hydrocarbons to be consumed without increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere and thus makes a positive contribution to the Greenhouse effect and to the problems of “global change” as occurs in both industrialized and developing countries. Further the advantages from utilization of biomass include: liquid fuels produced from biomass contain no sulfur, thus avoiding SO2   emissions and also reducing emission of N0x.  The production of compost as a soil conditioner avoids deterioration of soil and reduces pollution of waterways and groundwater.  Improved agronomic practices well managed biomass plantations will also provide a basis for environmental improvement by helping to stabilize certain soils, avoiding desertification    which is already occurring rapidly in tropical countries. Modern bio-energy technologies and bio-fuels are relatively benign from environmental view point and produce very little pollution if burned correctly and completely. The creation of new employment opportunities within the community and particularly in rural areas will be one of the major social benefits from the exploitation of biomass for energy, industry and environment.  The specific research work carried out in the areas of biomass production and utilization in less fertile areas will provide satisfactory answers to the double challenge of energy crisis and forced deforestation  in the country  in general and  semi-arid and arid regions of  Rajasthan in particular.  The possibility of conversion of biomass into strategic liquid fuels and electricity will make it possible to supply part of the increasing demand for primary energy and thus reduce demand for crude petroleum imports which entail heavy expenditure on foreign exchange. Family Euphorbiaceae ( Euphorbia antisyphilitica, E.tithymaloides, E. caducifolia E. royleana E. neerifolia etc and Ascelpiadaceae ( Calotropis gigantea and C. procera )  which have been worked out in previous years ( Kumar, 2000) and will form the basis for further studies.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />



Worldwide energy consumption is projected to grow by 59 percent over the next two decades, according to International Energy Outlook 2001 (IEO 2001), released by US Energy Information Administration EIA. One half of the projected growth is expected to occur in the developing nations of Asia   ( Including   <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />China, India and South Korea) and in Central and South America, where strong economic growth is likely to spur demand for energy over the forecast period. Renewable energy use is expected to increase by 53 percent between 1999 and 2020, but its current 9 percent share of total energy consumption is projected to drop to 8 percent by 2020. Oil currently accounts for a larger share of world energy consumption than any other energy source and is expected to remain in that position throughout the forecast period. World oil use is projected to increase from 75 million barrels per day in 1999 to 120 million barrels per day in 2020.   


Biomass resources are potentially the worlds largest renewable energy source- annual terrestrial biomass yield of 220 billion oven dry tonnes.  Biomass  conversion to fuel and chemicals is once again becoming an important alternative to replace oil and coal. Biodiesel from the rape seed oil methylester (RME) by farmers cooperative has production of 2000 t RME per year. A large facility  15000 t RME  per year is located at the oil mill at Bruck/Leitha in Austria. RME is excellent substitute for diesel. Already European countries mainly  Italy, Germany and Austria  are leading in Biodiesel production  nearing 500,000 tons in 1997 out of which 2,50,000 was produced in France.( Statt, 1998) The production capacity of biodiesel in Germany was fully utilized in1997, the sold quantity amounting to roughly 100,000 t (Groenen,1998). The technologies for producing bio-oil are evolving rapidly  with improving process performance , larger yield and better quality products. The challenge is to develop a process technology which can cope with the significant variation in the composition of the raw material. Another line of action is Camelina sativa . This plant was a traditional oilseed in Europe. It is considered “low input high yield” plant which could enhance the environmental aspect of biodiesel. However it has higher Iodine number (160).


Now it is not as a result of the oil crisis but due to global warming . Carbon dioxide emissions projected to grow from 5.8 billion tonnes carbon equivalent in 1990 to 7.8 billion tonnes in 2010 and 9.8 billion tonnes by 2020.  The  Kyoto conference agreement last year is not far reaching but indicates the role clear energy sources will play in future. Biomass is renewable, non pollutant and available world wide as agricultural residues, short rotation forests and crops . Thermochemical conversion low temperature processes are among the suitable technologies to promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly development. Biomass can play a dual role in greenhouse gas mitigation related to the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) i.e. as an energy source to substitute for fossil fuels and as a carbon store.


 The sustainable development of large areas of the world is today one of the greatest challenge . How will it be possible to provide the means for improving the socio-economic conditions of the increasing population in Developing countries, a large part of which lives in villages and rural areas of  Asia, Africa and South America. Biomass currently supplies about a third of the developing countries energy varying from about 90 percent in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to 45 percent in India, 30 percent in China and Brazil and 10-15 percent in Mexico and South Africa. Tropical deforestation is currently a significant environmental and development issue. The annual tropical deforestation rate for the decade 1981-1990 was about 15.4 million ha (Mha). According to some estimates the forest cover is 64.01 Mha accounting for 19.5 percent of India’s Geographic area. At present there is hardly 0.4 percent forest cover below 25 cm rainfall zone and 1.3 percent above 30 percent.  Since the annual photosynthetic production of biomass is about eight times the worlds total energy use and this energy can be produced and used in an environmentally  suitable manner and mitigating net CO2 emission, there can be little doubt that the potential source of stored energy must be carefully considered for future energy need.  The fact that nearly 90 percent of the worlds population will reside in developing countries by about 2050 probably implies that biomass energy will be with us forever unless there are drastic changes in the world energy trading pattern.


Biomass should be used instead of fossil energy carriers in order to reduce  i) CO2 emissions   ii) the anticipated resource scarcity of fossil fuels and   iii) need to import fuels from abroad.