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bioenergy

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Modern bioenergy will have the biggest growth in renewable resources between 2018 and 2023, underscoring its critical role in building a robust renewable portfolio and ensuring a more secure and sustainable energy system, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest market forecast.

Renewables will continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40% of global energy consumption growth, according to the IEA’s Renewables 2018 market analysis and forecast report. Their use continues to increase most rapidly in the electricity sector, and will account for almost a third of total world electricity generation in 2023. Because of weaker policy support and additional barriers to deployment, renewables use expands far more slowly in the transport and heat sectors.

While the growth in solar PV and wind is set to continue in the electricity sector, bioenergy remains the largest source of renewable energy because of its widespread use in heat and transport, sectors in which other renewables currently play a much smaller role.

“Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Its share in the world’s total renewables consumption is about 50% today, in other words as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined. We expect modern bioenergy will continue to lead the field, and has huge prospects for further growth. But the right policies and rigorous sustainability regulations will be essential to meet its full potential.”

The focus on bioenergy is part of the IEA’s analysis of “blind spots” of the energy system – issues that are critical to the evolution of the energy sector but that receive less attention than they deserve – such as the impact of air conditioners on electricity demand, or the growing impact of petrochemicals on global oil demand. Assuming strong sustainability measures are in force, the report identifies additional untapped potential for bioenergy to “green” and diversify energy usage in the industry and transport sectors.

China leads global growth in renewable energy as a result of policies to decarbonise all sectors and reduce harmful local air pollution, and becomes the largest consumer of renewable energy, surpassing the European Union by 2023. Of the world’s largest energy consumers, Brazil has the highest share of renewables by far – almost 45% of total final energy consumption in 2023, driven by significant contribution of bioenergy and hydropower.

Meanwhile, solar PV dominates renewable electricity capacity expansion. Renewable capacity additions of 178 GW in 2017 broke another record, accounting for more than two-thirds of global net electricity capacity growth for the first time. Solar PV capacity expanded the most (97 GW), over half of which was in China. Meanwhile, onshore wind additions globally declined for the second year in a row, and hydropower growth continued to decelerate.

Solar PV capacity is forecast to expand by almost 600 GW – more than all other renewable power technologies combined, or as much as twice Japan’s total capacity, reaching 1 TW by the end of the forecast period. Despite recent policy changes, China remains the absolute solar PV leader by far, holding almost 40% of global installed PV capacity in 2023. The United States remains the second-largest growth market for solar PV, followed by India, whose capacity quadruples.

Wind remains the second-largest contributor to renewable capacity growth, while hydropower remains the largest renewable electricity source by 2023. Similar to last year’s forecast, wind capacity is expected to expand by 60%. Meanwhile, spurred by technological progress and significant cost reductions, offshore wind capacity triples, with growth moving beyond Europe to Asia and North America.

Even with renewable energy technologies becoming increasingly competitive, appropriate policies and market design are critical. Under an accelerated case, which assumes greater supportive government measures, the expansion of renewables in electricity and in transport could be 25% higher.

Untapped potential of bioenergy in cement, sugar and ethanol industries is also significant. Bioenergy growth in the industry, transport and electricity sectors combined could be as considerable as that of other renewables in the electricity sector. A significant proportion of this potential relies on wastes and residues that offer low lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate concerns over land-use change. In addition, using these resources can improve waste management and air quality.

Source: IEA

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Sector adds record 167 GW of generating capacity,expands 8.3% in 2017

By the end of 2017, global renewable generation capacity increased by 167 GW and reached 2,179 GW worldwide, according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accessible figures on renewable energy capacity statistics. It contains nearly 15,000 data points from more than 200 countries and territories.

This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment, said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

“Despite this clear evidence of strength in the power generation sector, a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables,” Mr. Amin added.

Solar PV grew by a whopping 32% in 2017, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10%. Underlying this growth are substantial cost reductions, with the levelised cost of electricity from solar PV decreasing by 73%, and onshore wind by nearly one-quarter, between 2010 and 2017. Both technologies are now well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels.

China continued to lead global capacity additions, installing nearly half of all new capacity in 2017. 10% of all new capacity additions came from India, mostly in solar and wind. Asia accounted for 64% of new capacity additions in 2017, up from 58% last year. Europe added 24 GW of new capacity in 2017, followed by North America with 16 GW. Brazil set itself on a path of accelerated renewables deployment, installing 1 GW of solar generation, a ten-fold increase from the previous year.

Off-grid renewables capacity saw unprecedented growth in 2017, with an estimated 6.6 GW serving off-grid customers. This represents a 10% growth from last year, with around 146 million people now using off-grid renewables.

Highlights by technology 

Hydropower: The amount of new hydro capacity commissioned in 2017 was the lowest seen in the last decade. Brazil and China continued to account for most of this expansion (12.4 GW or 60% of all new capacity). Hydro capacity also increased by more than 1 GW in Angola and India.

Wind energy: Three-quarters of new wind energy capacity was installed in five countries: China (15 GW); USA (6 GW); Germany (6 GW); UK (4 GW); and India (4 GW). Brazil and France also installed more than 1 GW.

Bioenergy: Asia continued to account for most of the increase in bioenergy capacity, with increases of 2.1 GW in China, 510 MW in India and 430MW in Thailand. Bioenergy capacity also increased in Europe (1.0 GW) and South America (0.5 GW), but the increase in South America was relatively low compared to previous years.

Solar energy: Asia continued to dominate the global solar capacity expansion, with a 72 GW increase. Three countries accounted for most of this growth, with increases of 53 GW (+68%) in China, 9.6 GW (+100%) in India and 7 GW (+17%) in Japan. China alone accounted for more than half of all new solar capacity installed in 2017. Other countries that installed more than 1 GW of solar in 2017 included: USA (8.2 GW); Turkey (2.6 GW); Germany (1.7 GW); Australia (1.2 GW); South Korea (1.1 GW); and Brazil (1 GW).

Geothermal energy: Geothermal power capacity increased by 644 MW in 2017, with major expansions in Indonesia (306 MW) and Turkey (243 MW). Turkey passed the level of 1 GW geothermal capacity at the year-end and Indonesia is fast approaching 2 GW.

Source: IRENA

Biomass supply accounts for three quarters of the total renewable energy supply

World Bioenergy Association (WBA) has launched WBA Global Bioenergy Statistics 2017 report. This report is the 4th in a series of statistics reports focussing on development of bioenergy on a global level. Some key findings include:

In 2014, the supply of biomass globally has increased to 59.2 EJ – a 2.6% increase over the previous year. Overall, this accounted for 10.3% of the global energy supply. Biomass supply accounts for three quarters of the total renewable energy supply.

 

In the same year, the consumption of renewable energy sources increased to 66.9 EJ – accounting for 18.6% of the global energy mix. This shows a modest increase of 0.2% over the previous year. Bioenergy as the largest renewable energy source has an overall consumption of 50.5 EJ – 14% of the global energy mix.

In electricity sector, bioenergy is the 3rd largest renewable energy source with a generation of 493 TWh. Renewable electricity overall accounted for 23% of the overall electricity sector. Solar and wind are the fastest growing technologies with growth rates of 45.1% and 25.1% respectively.
Renewables share in the derived heat (heat produced in power plants) and direct heat (heat consumed directly) are 7.1% and 27.7% globally. The renewable heat sector is dominated by biomass as the leading energy source.

In transportation, the progress is lacking. Only 2.8% of the global transport sector is driven by liquid biofuels. Biofuels production is growing at a rate faster than the rate of electrification of transport.
Forestry continues to be a key part of biomass supply accounting for 87% of the total biomass supply providing woodfuel, wood industry residues, recovered wood, charcoal etc. Agriculture sector contributes 10% via use of animal byproducts, agricultural byproducts and energy crops. One of the ways to increase supply from these sectors is to use the residues. A low theoretical estimate shows a potential of at least 20.4 EJ. Finally, waste to energy conversion is increasing at an annual rate of 4% and Europe leads the way with 55% of all waste to energy plants in the region.

Official figures show that liquid biofuels production has reached 126 billion litres globally with 95.1 billion litres produced in Americas – USA and Brazil. The simultaneous production of 75.3 million tonnes of protein is an added benefit of the biofuels industry. Pellets production is increasing rapidly with a current production volume of 28 million tonnes (1.6 million tonnes increase in a year). 59% of the production is in Europe. South Korea and Japan are the largest pellet importers after EU. Biogas production reached 58.7 billion Nm3 with an average growth rate of 11.2%. Almost half of the biogas production occurs in Europe. Charcoal production retained its production volumes of 52 million tonnes.

Finally, bioenergy sector has employed 2.8 million people, not accounting for jobs in the traditional biomass sector.

Source: World Bioenergy Association (WBA)

Global energy-related CO2 emissions can be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased-out by 2060 with a net positive economic outlook, according to new findings released by IRENA. Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition, presents the case that increased deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in G20 countries and globally can achieve the emissions reductions needed to keep global temperature rise to no more than two-degrees Celsius, avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change.

Globally, 32 Gt of energy-related CO2 were emitted in 2015. The report states that emissions will need to fall continuously to 9.5 Gt by 2050 to limit warming to no more than two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. 90% of this energy CO2 emission reduction can be achieved through expanding renewable energy deployment and improving energy efficiency.

 

Renewable energy now accounts for 24% of global power generation and 16% of primary energy supply. To achieve decarbonisation, the report states that, by 2050, renewables should be 80% of power generation and 65% of total primary energy supply, based on continued rapid growth especially for solar and wind power in combination with enabling grids and new operating practices. But also, the buildings, industry and transport sectors need more bioenergy, solar heating and electricity from renewable sources that substitute conventional energy. Electric vehicles need to become the predominant car type in 2050. Liquid biofuel production must grow ten-fold. High efficiency all-electric buildings should become the norm. Deployment of heat pumps must accelerate and a combined total of 2 billion buildings will need to be new built or renovated.

While overall the energy investment needed for decarbonising the energy sector is substantial – an additional USD 29 trillion until 2050 – it amounts to a small share (0.4%) of global GDP. Furthermore, IRENA’s macroeconomic analysis suggests that such investment creates a stimulus that, together with other pro-growth policies, will:

  • Boost global GDP by 0.8% in 2050.
  • Generate new jobs in the renewable energy sector that would more than offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, with further jobs being created by energy efficiency activities.
  • Improve human welfare through important additional environmental and health benefits thanks to reduced air pollution.

The report calls for policy efforts to create an enabling framework and re-design of energy markets. Stronger price signals and carbon pricing can help provide a level playing field when complemented by other measures, and the report emphasizes the importance of considering needs of those without energy access.

Source: IRENA

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The EU is strongly promoting the growth and development of a sustainable European bioeconomy, of which one of its core components would be the greater uptake of biomass – organic materials to produce chemicals, materials, energy, pharmaceuticals, and many other sustainable and innovative products. This shift to biomass is being underpinned by substantial R&D efforts under FP7 and Horizon 2020

Increasing the production and mobilisation of biomass can have a number of highly positive benefits for the EU’s economy and wider society. These include contributions to the EU’s fight against climate change, ensuring European (and global) food security, building blocks for new and sustainable raw materials, as well as helping to diversify the EU energy sources. The cultivation and sourcing of biomass will also benefit the EU’s long-term economic growth and would be a key generator of new and highly-skilled jobs, all within the broader context of a flourishing and vibrant bioeconomy.

In particular, the agricultural sector will have a crucial role to play in bringing biomass’s full potential to fruition. Many promising avenues are currently being explored and supported by the European Commission, such as the development of industrial crops able to grow on marginal lands, new methods being pioneered on crop diversification, and the growth of multi-purpose crops (i.e. providing both food but also non-food outputs).

 

As part of the wider picture, it is planned that these efforts will provide the agricultural sector with the knowledge and expertise needed to support resource-efficient and resilient strategies and solutions for biomass production that allow for increased biomass production but without compromising sustainability targets or local ecosystems.

This CORDIS Results Pack is thus focusing on eight EU-funded projects that have been leading the way in integrating novel biomass solutions into the wider European bioeconomy.

Selected projects include EUROPRUNING, which has developed a truly innovative pruning-to-energy value chain and the ITAKA project that has used camelina oil to produce sustainable commercial biojet fuel that has the potential to power more than just the aviation industry. Meanwhile, the GRASSMARGINS project has identified the optimal perennial grasses to cultivate as biomass crops on marginal non-arable land, whilst the OPTIMA consortium has cultivated high-yielding perennial grasses capable of serving as the source of many exciting new bio-based products.

Source: CORDIS

Planta de biomasa Drax, Reino Unido / Drax biomass power plant , UK

Despite a slump in annual additions, the global bioenergy market is set to show steady growth, rising from 106.2 GW of installed capacity in 2015 to 165.2 GW by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The company’s latest report states that bioenergy is a niche market in the renewable energy industry, and is likely to grow at a significant rate in the future. Although bioenergy is not a new concept, recent advancements have improved both performance and reliability. The increases in global energy demand and climate change concerns are the primary growth drivers for the biopower industry.

The major driver for the successful deployment of large-scale bioenergy plants is government support in terms of renewable energy mandates and financial incentives, such as subsidies and production tax credits. Additionally, environmental regulations for emissions reductions discourage the use of fossil fuels for power generation, meaning alternatives such as bioenergy or other renewable energy sources are required.

Waste management practices such as composting and land filling indirectly support bioenergy generation, and many industries have set up bioenergy facilities to handle their waste. With proper financial support and government mandates in place, bioenergy installations have become a more viable option, and an appropriate solution to the issue of waste management. Conversion of waste into energy resolves the issues of waste management and sustainable energy.

The top 10 active bioenergy plants are mainly wood or agricultural by-product dependent, and Europe and the US dominate the market geographically. The UK-based Drax Biomass Power Plant is the leading active bioenergy plant, with 630 MW of total capacity. Other large plants include Jaboticabal Biomass Power Plant, which has a capacity of 302 MW and is owned by Brazilian company Destiliaria Santa Clara Ltd, and Aros G4 CHP, which is owned by Malarenergi AB and has a capacity of 243 MW.

Source: GlobalData

Last February, the Electric Metrology Laboratory (LME) of CIRCE, located in Zaragoza, obtained accreditation by ENAC (National Accreditation Entity) for carrying out the test to heating boilers for solid fuels, becoming the first laboratory accredited in our country under the UNE-EN 303-5:2013 standard. This accreditation will reduce the cost and complexity of the test benefiting from a nationally accredited centre.

Until now, there was no accredited laboratory in Spain so it was necessary to send the heating boilers to a foreign certified laboratory in order to perform the test. CIRCE carries out on site tests, displacing their own equipment to the customer facilities. This implies a reduction in transport costs, but on top of that a higher knowledge of the boiler and the test by the boiler manufacturer.

The scope of accreditation covers tests of heating boilers for solid fuels, manually and automatically stoked and a nominal heat output up to 500 kW and can determine the performance features, gas and particles emissions at rated and minimum power as well as safety requirements to be met by such boilers.

With this service, CIRCE will foster competitiveness of boiler manufacturers, favouring the market uptake of more efficient and sustainable boilers.

 

Source: CIRCE

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