New IEA report says bioenergy can supply 20 – 50% of world needs

IEA Bioenergy, the bioenergy arm of the International Energy Agency, has released a new report entitled Potential Contribution of Bioenergy to the World’s Future Energy Demand which can be downloaded here.

The report is easy to read and contains a wealth of information. It is focused on energy in general rather than transport fuels but is still worth a read. Here is a small section relevant to transport fuels:

Biofuels, mainly ethanol produced from sugar cane and surpluses of corn and cereals, and to a far lesser extent biodiesel from oil-seed crops, represent a modest 1.5 EJ (about 1.5%) of transport fuel use worldwide. Global interest in transport biofuels is growing, particularly in Europe, Brazil, North America, and Asia (most notably Japan, China and India) [WEA, 2000/2004; IEA, 2006b].

Global ethanol production has more than doubled since 2000, while production of biodiesel, starting from a much smaller base, has expanded nearly threefold. In contrast, crude oil production has increased by only 7% since 2000 [WorldWatch Institute, 2007].

Below is a very good table extracted from the report on current and future biofuels technologies, their energy efficiency and their estimated cost of production.

IEA Bioenergy biomass to transport fuels table

Source: IEA Bioenergy via Biopact (thanks for the tip Geoff)

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2 Responses

  1. Since the energy we consume can’t be stored any nut can see we are doomed. Nevertheless, there is no infinite supply of energy- least of all being fossil fuel. Even suns burn out, explode and are recycled to from more suns and planets. Do humans think we have preeminence? Well, lets see. If we convert totally to nuclear power, there is only so much uranium in the ground. Sun power will only work during daylight. Other methods being explored are contingent upon a limited amount of materials beings produced from the soil.

    The very best we can do is conserve and hope like hell perpetual, alternate energy sources will be invented and or found or brought down to us from the Gods. There is no help coming out of Washington, no high court decision, no Manhattan-style Project solve this one. Prices for corn, chicken, pork and soybeans are predicted to double within a year. This will happen because we chose to feed grain to our insatiable hunger for the combustion engine- that stupid, so-called sexy, automobile. We are drinking up all the wine and there are simple no way to grow more grapes.

    I personally believe no one wants to look realistically (some may say fatalistically) at our consumption habits and our inability to find perpetual energy sources. Here is a realistic thought. There may be none available! In our present state we may lack the ability to develop sustainable energy sources. Yet, we are fighting over which methods are best (solar, nuclear or bio) when all, so far, are doomed to failure. And as long as we continue to feed the automobile and waste precious resources, we expedite our own demise.

    If present trends continue-and they most likely will- the last few billion barrels of oil will not be traded on the open market; but will become the property of a military victor. And when the human species are gone it will be to a large degree our own arrogant, ignorant, self-centered doing.

    President Jimmy Carter in his infinite wisdom, warned us about our lavish, wasteful way with fuel and it cost him his day job. Well, conservation will only prolong the inevitable. We will run out! And the combustion engine and our love affair with the horseless carriage will go down as human’s biggest blunder. Good to you all and you have my deepest sympathy.

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