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Geoscientist Online

Biomass in the Energy Industry

dgtyk;fyilBiomass is an increasingly important component of the energy landscape and biomass coupled with bioenergy is seen by many as an essential step in the transition to a sustainable energy economy. This book is a broad introduction to benefits and potential limitations of biomass and explains in broad terms what crops and potential crops are suitable for use in various scenarios. The authors explain where biomass fits into the world energy model and how a greater uptake of biomass can help mitigate the increasing volumes of CO2 in the atmosphere. This book has its origins in the BP Energy Sustainability Challenge and is one of several introductory books on topical subjects examining energy industry practices generated by the sustainability challenge.

The text is well laid out and leads the reader through concepts associated with biomass and its potential with clear diagrams, maps and charts before moving onto the economics, politics and environmental concerns that influence where biomass can be grown. The tone is direct, it reads like a student textbook rather than an academic tome, and is easily accessible to various audiences. As with the other books in the BP energy and sustainability series it has extensive references, with the key references highlighted after each chapter so the reader can follow up on specific lines of enquiry.

The book itself is well made and printed on quality FSC-certified Cocoon Silk, but more relevant is this book can be downloaded for free as a PDF from BPs own website at www.bp.com/energysustainabilitychallenge along with its companion texts for supply chain and water use. 

This volume is aimed at a very broad audience. Being an introductory text, I can see it being of great use to policy makers and teachers as well as engineers and scientists wishing for a greater understanding of biomass and its contribution to mitigating climate change. While a good introduction to a very relevant subject, the data pertaining to regional growth of biomass and volumes shipped, as well as politics and economics will become dated very quickly, such is the speed of development in this area. Overall I was impressed with the breadth and depth of coverage of biomass in such a short introductory volume, this is an excellent overview of a very relevant topic and being available as a free download it is definitely worth a look.

John Midgley

BIOMASS IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY: AN INTRODUCTION by Davis, S.C., Hay, W. & Pierce, J, 2014. Published by BP and ON Communications, 117pp (pbk)

ISBN: none List price: FREE - available as digital download from BP website