Natural gas consumption rose by 5.3% in 2018, which was one of the highest rates of growth since 1984, as stated in the 68th edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The rapidly increasing population is leading to the surging usage of energy. Since fossil fuels, such as natural gas, coal, and petroleum, are the primary source of energy around the world, their depletion at such a high rate calls for the usage of alternate ways of generating energy. One such way of generating comparatively cleaner energy is via the use of the biorefining technology. Using bio-fuels offer an efficient solution to the current crisis because this can considerably decrease the dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere.
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Biorefining is the process of converting biomass (such as forest debris, certain crops, scrap lumber, types of waste residue, and manure) to produce heat, power, fuel, and chemicals. Biorefinery refers to facilities at which the conversion happens. It is similar to conventional petroleum refineries that produce a variety of fuels and other useful products from petroleum feedstock. The biorefinery market attained a value of $432.4 billion in 2014, and it is predicted to witness a CAGR of 14.0% in the near future. The several technologies used in biorefineries are thermochemical, industrial biotechnology, and physico-chemical. Among these, industrial biotechnology was used the most in biorefineries in 2014. Biochemical processes, such as anaerobic digestion and fermentation, are included in industrial biotechnology that finds application in a biorefinery plant.
Now that the pressure for environmental sustainability has increased due to the rapid depletion of fossil fuels and increase in pollution levels, the governments of various countries are compelled to pay attention to this crisis. To deal with the situation by encouraging the generation and use of renewable energy, the governments in several places have initiated various schemes and projects. The global interest is now increasingly shifting from conventional renewable energy generation sources to sustainable and renewable alternatives, as people are becoming more aware about the environmental crisis. In addition to this, governments are implementing stringent environmental regulations, which are driving the demand for efficient energy sources, such as biofuels. Despite the growing concern regarding the environment, the energy consumption is increasing day by day. The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in its publication, World Energy Outlook, in 2014 that the world energy demand is predicted to increase by 37.0% by 2040. All these factors are leading to the surging demand for biorefining facilities.
As many countries have to import crude oil in large quantities to fulfill their energy needs, their governments are focusing on sustainable sources of energy so that their economic growth is not hampered. They are looking for alternatives to petroleum-based sources to generate energy, which can be produced locally from the resources that are available. Due to this reason, governments across the world are focusing on initiatives to replace at least some of their petroleum usage with bio-based alternatives. These steps would enable the countries to utilize their money for national security and economic growth. Thus, to ensure geopolitical energy security, nations are expected to invest increasingly in biorefineries.