Exploiting the potential of halophytes for third generation biofuel production M. Ajmal Khan Qatar Shell Professorial Chair for Sustainable Development and Professor, Department of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, PO Box 2713, Doha, Qatar Author for correspondence: [email protected] ABSTRACT Increasing urbanization and industrial developments are accompanying intense utilization of fossil fuel such as petroleum and natural gas. Combustion of these conventional fuels causes environmental pollution especially the emission of green-house gases. Atmospheric concentrations of these green-house gases have increased substantially since the first industrial revolution. These green-house gases cause global warming which in turn is linked to many environmental problems such as sea-level rise and weather anomalies. As a result, researchers are looking for sustainable and environment-friendly energy alternatives. Biofuels - bioethanol and biodiesel from halophytes (naturally salt tolerant plants) may provide such an alternative. The argument used against bio-fuel crops that they are competing with human food resources, is not applicable to halophytes as they utilize saline resources which are considered as waste. Besides, the production of energy from plant biomass would be less detrimental to environment than conventional fossil fuels, as it would emit the same amount of CO2, which would have been fixed during photosynthesis. The potential of halophytes as a source of biofuel is now under investigation. We are reporting here an initial screening of coastal halophytes from Pakistan, which could be useful as bioethanol feedstock.


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