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  Section: General Biotechnology / Biotechnology & Environment
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Biomass : A Renewable Source of Energy


Aquatic Biomass
It is obvious that the first life originated in water. Therefore, water bodies support a vast community of plant and animal. Many aquatic plants become troublesome for aquatic animals and human as well such as the aquatic weeds like water hyacinth, Salvinia, Hydrilla, Lemna, Pistia, Wolffia etc.

In addition to higher plants, the lower plants (especially blue-green algae and green algae) have much future prospects, as far as production of biomass (see Enzyme Technology), conversion of aquatic biomass into biogas / hydrocarbon and abatement of pollution (in sewage oxidation) are concerned.

a member of Pteridophyta, is commonly known as water fern. It grows luxuriantly in stagnant water, for example ponds, pools and lakes. S. molesta is the world's worst weed known so far. As a serious menace it is known only from Africa, Sri Lanka and India. In India, it predominates in Kerala, Kashmir and North-East states. In Kashmir it is represented by S. natans and in North-East states by S. cucculata. In Kashmir, beauty of Dal Lake is gradually fading due to rapid growth of this weed. Recently biogas production from Salvinia was suggested (see Biogas production from Salvinia).

Water Hyacinth (Eicchornia crassipes)
Water hyacinth is the most noxious weed of the world. It grows abundantly in tropical regions in non-saline water in ponds, pools, lakes, reservoirs, rivers and even in paddy field. It is believed that water hyacinth occupies about 2,00,000 acres land in Bihar and 30,000 acres in West Bengal. It grows luxuriantly at temperature 28-30°C. It rapidly multiplies on domestic sewage. Generally the huge amount of biomass is of no use. Nowadays, cultivation of water hyacinth on sewage for minimizing pollution has been suggested. Use of water hyacinth in biogas production is discussed (see Biogas production from Water Hyacinth)



Energy sources : A general account 


Nuclear energy


Fossil fuel energy


Non-fossil and non-nuclear energy

Biomass as source of energy


Composition of biomass











Terrestrial biomass


Aquatic biomass






Water hyacinth


Wastes as renewable source of energy



Composition of wastes



Sources of wastes (Industries, agriculture, forestry, municipal sources)

Biomass conversion


Non-biological process



Direct combustion-hog fuel











Biological process



Enzymatic digestion



Anaerobic digestion



Aerobic digestion


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