Long-range prospects for solar-derived fuels. [Gaseous, liquid, and solid fuels produced from organic wastes and biomass]
Long-range prospects for solar-derived fuels. [Gaseous, liquid, and solid fuels produced from organic wastes and biomass] The long-range prospect for the use of solar energy through photosynthesis to produce solid, liquid, and gaseous fuel seems reasonably well assured. The technology for such fuels is already well developed. Their extensive use awaits a favorable price level for delivered biomass and a major shift in agricultural and silvacultural practice through which energy crops become comparable in value to traditional crops. The transition to this new mode will take place gradually and at varying rates in different parts of the world. In countries like the United States with abundant reserves of coal and oil shale it is likely to be delayed, while an early onset seems most likely in the humid tropics where the production of solar-derived solid fuel and alcohol can eliminate all dependence on imported oil. When tropical agrisilvaculture has become widely deployed, the countries in this region can begin to benefit from a growing, lucrative, and assured market for alcohol to replace gasoline. The prospects are also promising in the case of the direct use of solar energy for hot water and for heating buildings. As the cost of oil, natural gas, and electricity escalates and scarcities develop, such solar-heating systems seem certain to be increasingly more »
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