Future of Bioenergy
Bioenergy (energy science) will soon be ahead of the current leader among renewable energy sources – solar energy. By the end of 2023, it may soon account for about 30% of new renewable energy capacities worldwide.
According to the recent studies, there is steady global growth for most types of renewable energy.
In 2017, 178 GWh more renewable capacities were commissioned than in 2016. At the moment, the leader among renewable energy sources is solar power. Also, it accounts for more than 2/3 of the newly commissioned capacities. In terms of solar generation, China ranks first, followed by the United States and India.
The implmentation of renewable energy is gaining popularity even in countries with large oil and gas reserves. So, Iran plans to build a 2 GWh solar power station. The corresponding agreement was signed with the Norwegian manufacturer of solar modules.
Despite the fact that renewable energy technologies are becoming increasingly competitive, politics and the market continue to have a noticeable impact on it. The creation of favorable conditions on the part of the government – the use of renewable energy in the energy and transport sectors can grow by more than 25% with administrative support.
China, taking as an example, launches programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors of industry. They notice a rapid growth in the use of renewable sources. In the next 5 years, according to experts from the International Energy Agency, China will become one of the leaders in global bioenergy, satisfying about 40% of its electricity needs.
Breakthrough in bioenergy
In a new report, IEA experts examine three areas of energy use:
The increase in solar and wind energy consumption will be a part of the electricity sector. Bioenergy will continue to play an important role due to its widespread use in heating and transportation – in areas where other renewable energy sources are currently used in smaller volumes.
The focus on bioenergy is part of the analysis of the “blank spots” of the energy system: issues that receive far less attention than they deserve. The report also figures out the additional unused potential of bioenergy as a means of diversifying energy use in industry and the transport sector.
The real potential of bioenergy is still being held back due to weaker political support and additional barriers to deploying its use.
Pros and cons
However, bioenergy has a tarnished reputation among conservationists. The active introduction of biofuels made from wood and crops can result in unpleasant consequences.
They consider cheap biofuels based on food, especially vegetable oils such as rapeseed, sunflower and palm, are just a terrible idea.
An increase in the burden on the agricultural sector may lead to a reduction in food production. According to the calculations of American researchers, today the expansion of “fuel” landings has caused an increase in food prices in the United States. In addition, excessive biofuel enthusiasm is accompanied by deforestation.
In 2012, the European Commission came to the conclusion that the transfer of land for fuel plantations should be limited, and fuel producers from food crops should not enjoy state support.
The British analytical center Chatham House in its study concludes that biofuels emit more carbon per unit of energy than fossil fuels. Togther with this, a long-term transportation of raw materials further increases the carbon footprint of bioenergy. Carbon-neutral can only be considered the use of wood waste, which otherwise would have been burned or left to rot in the forest.
A study by the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT) also suggests that the use of so-called alternative jet fuels made from plant materials will not contribute to any significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
As one of the main areas of work, supporters of the environmental friendliness of biofuels see the creation of “clean” fuel for aircraft. In their opinion, the recent Virgin Atlantic transatlantic flight, fueled with ethanol blend, proves its viability in the role of environmentally friendly fuel. One NASA study also notes that biofuels will make air travel 50-70% more environmentally friendly.