Scientific studies have demonstrated that it is possible to generate a wide variety of bioenergy from biomass residues and waste, and however its cost is not competitive with petro-fuels and other renewable energy. On-going efforts are continued extensively to improve conversion technologies in order to reduce production costs. The present review focuses on the conversion technologies for transforming biomass residues and waste to biofuels, specifically their technological concepts, options and prospects for implementation are addressed. The emerging developments in the two primary conversion pathways, namely the thermochemical (i.e. gasification, liquefaction, and pyrolysis) and biochemical (i.e. anaerobic digestion, alcoholic fermentation and photobiological hydrogen production) conversion techniques, are evaluated. Additionally, transesterification, which appears to be the simplest and most economical route to produce biodiesel in large quantity, is discussed. Lastly, the strategies for direct conversion of biomass residues and waste to bioelectricity including the use of combustion and microbial fuel cells are reviewed.
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