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2009 December 03

Global Potential for Bioenergy Sufficient to meet Global Energy Demand

A position paper by World Bioenergy Association (WBA) based on a report by the Department of Energy and Technology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) shows that the global potential to produce biomass for energy in a sustainable way is sufficient to meet global energy demand.

The estimated potential for bioenergy production is 1135 – 1 548 EJ (ExaJoule) in 2050, based on different scientific studies. The global energy consumption is 490 EJ today, and could reach well 
over 1000 EJ in 2050, according to IEA projections.

- There is a lack of awareness of the enormous potential of bioenergy worldwide both among politicians, media and the public, says Kent Nyström, president of World 
Bioenergy Association. 

- We have to present these facts to the political leaders in Copenhagen since Bioenergy must play a major role in the strategy to combat climate change, he says.

Comments from WBA board members: 
Bioenergy has clear advantages compared to other technologies. It is available in all societies and all communities. There are many small-scale and inexpensive bioenergy solutions that can be implemented directly, says Prof. S.C. Bhattacharya, International Energy Initiative, India.

Bioenergy has great potential in Africa, both to increase self-sufficiency, reduce imports of fossil fuels, and to open new export opportunities, says Prof. Judi W. Wakhungu, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Kenya.

Bioenergy is cost-effective. We can solve many environmental problems in society by using waste products and by-products from food industry, agriculture and forestry, as well as household waste, says William Holmberg, American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), USA

According to the report, the largest potential for bioenergy comes from biomass production on surplus agricultural lands and degraded lands. The current use of biomass for energy is only 50 EJ, around 10 percent of global energy consumption. Bioenergy crops are grown on 25 million hectares, which is only 0.19 percent of the world’s total land area and 0.5 percent of the total agricultural land.

Read more here.