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2021 December 14

Global Bioenergy Statistics 2021

Summary of GBS 2021

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Fossil fuels dominate the global energy supply. 81% of the total primary energy supply was from coal, crude oil and natural gas. Renewable energy technologies of solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal etc. had a share of 14.1% in the primary energy supply in 2019 – a 0.3% increase over the previous year. 

Coal is a significant contributor to the global electricity mix. In 2019, 37% of electricity produced globally was from coal-based sources with a total production of 9 914 TWh. In 2019, 27 044 TWh of electricity was generated globally with renewables having a share of 27%, mainly driven by the increasing use of solar and wind as well as significant contribution from hydropower and biomass. In 2019, 7 311 TWh of renewable electricity was produced globally. Hydropower was the largest renewable electricity generating source with a share of 59% followed by wind at 20%. Bioenergy was the third largest renewable electricity generating source with 768 TWh of production. 

In 2019, 15.5 EJ of heat was produced globally via heat only and combined heat and power plants. Coal and natural gas have a combined share of more than 85% in the global heat production. Renewable energy technologies including biomass, geothermal and solar thermal have doubled their share in the global heat production over the past 19 years. 97% of all renewable heat produced was from biomass with minor contribution from geothermal and solar thermal technologies.

In the transport sector, crude oil and oil products contribute 92% of the energy needs. Liquid biofuels and biogas are a sustainable option for the sector right now. Biofuels have a share of 3.3% and have experienced a growth of 13%. 

Gross final energy consumption includes the total final consumption of all energy sources including the electricity and heat consumption at all end use sectors. In 2019, gross final energy consumption of all energy sources was 379 EJ. The share of renewables has remained constant at 17%. 

In 2019, domestic supply of biomass was 56.9 EJ globally. 85% of the domestic supply was from solid biomass sources including wood chips, wood pellets and traditional biomass sources. Liquid biofuels accounted for 8%, municipal and industrial waste sectors accounted for 5% followed by biogas at 2%. In 2020, 1.93 billion m3 of wood fuel was produced globally. Africa and Asia had the highest share of wood fuel production with a contribution of 36% and 37% respectively. Wood pellets are one of the fastest growing bioenergy sectors worldwide. In 2019, 40.5 million tonnes of pellets were estimated to be produced globally. In 2019, 53.6 million tonnes of wood charcoal were produced globally with Africa accounting for 65% of the global production. 

Agriculture is a key sector for increased potential for bioenergy utilization in the future. In terms of yields of major crops, there is significant potential to increase the yields in various regions to the global average. This will enable increased production of both food and fuel with the agriculture sector playing a key enabler for increased bioenergy use around the world. Energy generation from municipal and industrial waste represents the 3rd feedstock sector after forestry and agriculture. In 2019, domestic supply of energy from municipal and industrial waste was 2.59 EJ with 56% from municipal waste and remaining from industrial waste. 

In 2019, 655 TWh of electricity was generated from biomass globally. 68% of all biopower generated was from solid biomass sources followed by 17% from municipal and industrial waste. Asia accounted for 39% of all biopower generated globally with 255 TWh of production in 2019 followed by Europe at 35%. Electricity only plants are designed to produce electricity only. In 2019, 428 TWh of biopower was estimated to be produced in electricity only plants. CHP or Combined Heat and Power plants refer to those plants that are designed to produce both heat and electricity. In 2019, 280 TWh of biopower was generated globally from biomass CHP. 

In 2019, 1.17 EJ of heat was produced from biomass-based sources – 53% from solid biomass sources and 25% from municipal solid waste. Europe is the world leader in producing heat from biomass in power plants with a share of 88% globally. In 2019, 0.43 EJ of bioheat was produced in heat only plants while 1.35 EJ of bioheat was produced globally in CHP facilities. 

In 2019, 159 billion litres of biofuels were produced globally. Americas dominate the biofuel production globally. North and South America together produce 70% of all biofuels globally with Europe having a share of 15%. In 2019, 62.3 billion m3 of biogas was produced globally with an equivalent energy content of 1.43 EJ.