Bioenergy: facts and figures

Jan 2007

This document issued by the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) Secretariat illustrates “the basics” of bioenergy.
GBEP is committed to promoting bioenergy for sustainable development. Bioenergy is a sustainable energy source only if its entire production chain – feedstock production, refining and conversion and end use practices are sustainable. Environmental, social and economic considerations are also addressed in this document.
At the same time, bioenergy offers significant potentials for emission reductions in electricity, heat and transportation, however these vary significantly between different bioenergy technologies and regions.
854 million people in this world suffer from hunger, and although the proportion of undernourished has declined over recent years, absolute figures have remained constant. Growth in bioenergy has repercussions on food security through two predominant channels: a) price effects in international markets and b) local factors related to specific production methods of bioenergy and the local context. The thematic of bioenergy and food security as well as trade implications are addressed in this document.
Trade in bioenergy and bioenergy feedstocks is currently low, but is poised to rise with increasing mandates for bioenergy use in regions with limited production potentials (for instance the EU). Biomass productivity in tropical and sub-tropical climates is significantly higher (according to some estimates up to five times higher) than in temperate regions (Europe, North America) where demand for biofuels is growing most.
Potential for bioenergy development in African countries (and in particular in Sub-Saharan regions) are also addressed in this document.

By: Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) Secretariat

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