IEA Bioenergy Annual Report 2006

Jul 2007

Renewable energy is of growing importance in responding to concerns over the environment and security of energy supply. Biomass is unique in providing the only renewable source of fixed carbon, which is an essential ingredient in meeting many of our fuel and consumer goods requirements. It is also considered the renewable energy source with the highest potential to contribute to the energy needs of modern society for both the developed and developing economies worldwide. Wood, energy crops and agricultural and forestry residues are some of the main renewable energy resources available. The biodegradable components of municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial and industrial wastes are also significant bioenergy resources, although, particularly in the case of MSW, they may require extensive processing before conversion.
Bioenergy could provide the major part of the projected renewable energy provisions of the future as biofuels in the form of gas, liquid or solid fuels, or electricity and heat. There are many ways of providing these biofuels, including thermal and biological conversion, of which pyrolysis, and particularly fast pyrolysis, forms the focus of this review.
Of the available biomass conversion technologies for production of more usable energy forms, fast pyrolysis is the least developed, but offers the benefits of a liquid fuel with concomitant advantages of easy storage and transport as well as higher power generation efficiencies than fossil fuelled systems at the smaller scales of operation that are likely to be realised from bioenergy systems. All the other thermal and biological biomass conversion processes are commercially available, usually with performance guarantees, and are steadily being implemented around the world.

By: IEA Bioenergy (International Energy Agency)

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