Reducing atmospheric CO2 using biomass energy and photobiology

D. O. Hall*, J. I. House

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Biological systems are among the most promising, environmentally sustainable alternatives for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels. Biomass can act as a reservoir of carbon, or as a direct substitute for fossil fuels with no net contribution to atmospheric CO2 if produced and used sustainably. We examine the role of biomass in mitigating global warming and contributing to the development of future energy strategies. We conclude that the use of biomass for fossil fuel substitution would be far more effective in reducing atmospheric CO2 than to simply sequester CO2 in forests in most circumstances. Furthermore, since bioenergy could be less costly than coal and petroleum, this strategy has an economic advantage over many of the carbon mitigation options. Photobiology and photochemistry are possible future routes for CO2 reduction. The use of microalgae in photobioreactors is feasible for CO2 removal as has been demonstrated in a number of laboratories. Energy balances with such systems need to be optimised since parameters such as light (actual and artificial) and waste heat play crucial roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-896
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy conversion and management
Issue number9-11
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • bioenergy
  • Biomass
  • carbon dioxide
  • carbon sequestration
  • fossil fuel substitution
  • photobiology


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