Bioenergy production potential


Biomass resources assessments

Biomass resources and potential are considerable. Estimations vary according to the calculation methodology and the assumptions made (e.g. land use patterns for food production, agricultural management systems, wood demand evolution, production technologies used, natural forest growth etc).  It is also common to distinguish several potentials:

  •     Theoretical potential: the theoretical maximum potential is limited by factors such as the physical or biological barriers that cannot be altered given the current state of science.
  •     Technical potential: the potential that is limited by the technology used and the natural circumstances.
  •     Economic potential: the technical potential that can be produced at economically profitable levels.
  •     Ecological potential: the potential that takes into account ecological criteria, e.g. loss of biodiversity or soil erosion.

Assessing the environmental performance of bioenergy

Risultati immagini per Assessing the environmental performance of bioenergy

 

Routes for converting biomass to energy

Risultati immagini per Routes for converting biomass to energy

Source: EEA, 2013.

Bioenergy Production Potential 2050

The graph below shows the sustainable bioenergy production potential for the world regions under four scenarios by 2050.

This projection looks at the explicitly sustainable potential of bioenergy production, that is, the production of biofuels after all food, fuel, fiber and fodder needs for local populations and livestock are satisfied and without deforestation. It shows that in Africa bioenergy production may reach 350 EJy/ (exajoules/yr) under a high-tech scenario by 2050 (scenario 4), when populations have increased considerably. From the graph, of all global regions, Africa ranks first when it comes to the long-term sustainable bioenergy production potential.

Source of graph: E. Smeets, A. Faaij, I. Lewandowski (2004). A quickscan of global bio-energy potentials to 2050: analysis of the regional availability of biomass resources for export in relation to underlying factors, Copernicus Institute – Utrecht Universit.

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Scenario

1

2

3

4

Level of technology for crop production

Very high

Water supply for agriculture (rain-fed = RF, irrigated = IRR)

RF

RF / IRR

Animal production system used (pastoral, mixed, landless)

mixed

landless

Animal feed conversion efficiency

High

Bioenergy potential in the EU

EUBIA considers that the EU-27 technical potential would reach 200 Mtoe/year (8.4 EJ/year) in the short term (2020), doubling to 400 Mtoe/year by 2050. A recent study (BTG, 2004) found, for the EU-25 + Romania and Bulgaria, a 2020 availability potential for biofuels of 210 Mtoe/year. Detailed results by sector are given in the table below. These overall figures should be regarded as indicative; an inaccuracy in the range of ±10% is the result of assumptions on land use for energy crops.

Availability of bioenergy in Europe in 2000, 2010 and 2020 (Mtoe/yr)

EU-15

10 NMS + BG, RO

2000

2010

2020

2000

2010

2020

Tradables:

86

93

101

21

22

24

   Forestry by products & (refined) wood fuels

34

38

42

7.9

8.7

9.6

   Solid agricultural residues

25

28

31

7.3

8.1

8.9

   Solid industrial residues

11

12

13

2.1

2.4

2.6

   Solid energy crops*

16

16

16

3.2

3.2

3.2

Non-tradeables:

40

53

66

7.1

9.4

13

   Wet manure

11

12

13

3.4

3.8

4.2

   Organic waste

    – Biodegradable municipal waste

6.7

17

28

0.5

2.5

5.7

    – Demolition wood

5.3

5.8

6.4

0.6

0.6

0.7

    – Dry manure

1.9

2

2.3

0.4

0.4

0.5

    – Black liquor

9.9

11

12

0.7

0.8

0.9

   Sewage gas

1.7

1.9

2.1

0.4

0.4

0.5

   Landfill gas

4.0

3.8

2.1

1.1

0.9

0.4

Transport fuels

4.9

4.9

4.9

0.8

0.8

0.8

   Bio-ethanol*

3.7

3.7

3.7

0.5

0.5

0.5

   Bio-diesel*

1.2

1.2

1.2

0.3

0.3

0.3

Total bio-energy

131

151

172

28

32

38

*: It is assumed that 50% of the set-aside area is available for solid energy crops and 25% each for liquid bio-fuel (bio-ethanol and biodiesel) crops
Source: BTG, 2004

Note the growth in the availability of organic wastes, which results from the EU implementation of the EC directive on the landfill of waste (1999/31/EC). This directive discourages the landfilling of biodegradable waste and prescribes a time schedule to reduce this waste disposal to a specific level.