Sustainable bio-energy in Africa (2015)

The global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015 for the first time since record-keeping of greenhouse gas levels began ( http://research.noaa.gov). These suggests that burning of fossil fuels by humans have caused global CO2 concentrations to rise more than 102 parts per million since pre-industrial times. Rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 is a key contributor to current global climate changes and there is worsening pollution as a result of fossil exploitation. As a consequence and in addition to recent high expectation for clean energy has given a new impetus for the production of biofuels from nonfood feedstocks. Biofuel from bioenergy crops has large greenhouse gas displacement effects that could help slow down the rise of atmospheric CO2 levels.  The focus now is to identify and develop improved zero carbon-emission bioenergy crops and to promote low polluting alternatives to fossil fuel.

The Institute of Biotechnology Research at JKUAT in collaboration with the Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences have in place sweet sorghum hybrids with high fermentable sugar content (Brix) in their stems and are much taller. Preliminary growth and adaptation tests in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia, surprisingly show that the yields from sweet sorghum hybrids are in addition significantly higher when compared to local varieties. In partnership with Can Sen Enterprises LTD, the feasibility of producing bio-ethanol from the sweet sorghum hybrids is actively being pursued.

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