has a calculation that results in: "Per hectare per year, the biomass produced corresponds to 0.27 TJ. This is equivalent to 0.86 W per square meter. Assuming an average insolation of 225 W per square meter, the photosynthetic efficiency of sugar cane is 0.38%." Sucrose accounts for little more than 30% of the chemical energy stored in the mature plant; 35% is in the leaves and stem tips, which are left in the fields during harvest, and 35% are in the fibrous material (bagasse) left over from pressing.
An analysis of a proposed Hawaiian oil palm plantation claimed to yield 600 gallons of biodiesel per acre per year. That's 2835 watts per acre or 0.7 watts per square meter . Typical insolation in Hawaii is more like 5.5 kW-hrs/square meter/day or 230 watts . So this particular Hawaiian oil palm plantation, if it delivered the claimed 600 gallons of biodiesel per acre per year would be converting 0.3% of the incident solar energy to chemical fuel. Total photosynthetic efficiency would include more than just the biodiesel oil, so this 0.3% number is something of a lower bound. Contrast this with a typical photo-voltaic installation , which would produce an average of roughly 22 watts per square meter (roughly 10% of the average insolation), throughout the year.
Mr G’s Environmental Systems » 1.1. 3: Energy in Systems
To this end, there is a need for the development of industrial technology which makes use of biological principles in a sophisticated manner.
Biological energy conversions can be categorized into two groups: i) photosynthesis (the process whereby solar energy is fixed to yield energy useful to organisms and industry), and ii) biomass conversion (the product of photosynthesis) into energy.