The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Biomass To More Than Triple Globally by 2030

Driven by aggressive biofuel mandates, rapid industry growth will cause great strain on biomass by 2030, according to analysis firm Lux Research. A report from the firm says that, using today's technologies, an area the size of Russia would need to be cultivated to replace all petroleum used for chemicals and fuels, and feedstock innovation will be needed to keep growing biomass's market share.

But the future doesn't look grim for biofuels, according to Kalib Kersh, Lux's bio-based materials and chemicals/alternative fuels analyst. Kersh told REW that he believes some developers will deliver the needed innovation, though others will flounder. “When cellulosic pre-treatment technologies come to commercial viability in the next several years, biofuels and biocemicals producers will have new options for feedstocks,” he said. “In turn that will create a new variation of agriculture, stimulating biomass production in a very efficient way.” And Kersh saw more investment in the bioenergy sector in 2012 than ever before.

When Stresses Bite

Today biofuels and biochemicals need more than one billion metric tons of material per year to replace 3 percent of total petroleum products, according to Kersh. “By 2030 this number will soar to 3.7 billion metric tons,” he said. To meet this growing challenge, measures will be needed such as crop modifications, new value chain configurations and agronomic technology improvements like irrigation and biosensors.

Kersh is “cautiously optimistic” that these measures will be taken - although particular regions could be problematic. What will happen if industry innovation doesn't materialize to the levels necessary to avert a crisis? Kersh said his research had led him to conclude that Japan, North America and Brazil would end up being importers of biomass. “It's almost impossible to see it happening otherwise”, he said. And he warned that “it's always possible that some of these countries will backpedal on their mandates”, although he cautioned that it's too soon to tell.

Costs Can Be Lowered

New logistics methods could lower costs, according to the report. Alternative fuel companies such as Sweetwater Energy and BlackGold Biofuels are developing 'hub-and-spoke' models to build satellite intermediate conversion facilities that feed into a central processing facility, cutting transportation costs. According to Kersh, the largest contributing cost in bioenergy production is the feedstock. Other contributors to cost are in harvesting, processing, transport and, in some cases, storage.

The Public Opinion Factor

It may surprise some that the biofuels market appears to be burgeoning despite widespread public debate over food vs fuel and destruction of the world's rainforests. Kersh shed some light on the issues: “For one thing,” he told REW, “sugar cane in Brazil is actually grown far from rainforests; it needs a fairly dry environment for part of the growing season.”

In terms of the food vs fuel debate, Kersh believes that “some disingenuous players” have been making much of the issue, but that it “doesn't make that much sense”.

“The issue of food security needs to be dealt with head-on, not in an indirect way by attacking biofuel,” he said. “There is plenty of grain and plenty of foodstuffs for everybody; the problems are not a matter of supply.”

In the US, he said, the American Petroleum Institute has exerted efforts to eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). "The irony of that," said Kersh, "is that use of ethanol frees up other petroleum-derived blend-stock fractions for higher-value sale to other, non-fuels markets."

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Campus Flora Fuels Research into Bioenergy-Inspired Energy Storage

Joe McCune, Missouri S&T Dr. Umit Koylu, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology,...

Sugarcane Bioethanol Project in Sierra Leone Underscores the Challenge of Producing Bionergy in the Developing World

Andrew Burger West Africa may be one of the most difficult and dangerous regions of the world in which to work, posing challenges t...

Unlikely Allies in North Carolina Clean-Energy Fight

Mark Drajem, Bloomberg With North Carolina’s renewable energy mandate under assault from Republican legislators, green groups seeking to sav...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

2015 AREDAY Summit

The 12th Annual AREDAY Summit, August 8-13th in Snowmass Colorado. Engag...

StartUp Green

AREI, American Renewable Energy Institute, in partnership with ...

SAP for Utilities

SAP for Utilities is North America’s most comprehensive utilities ...

COMPANY BLOGS

New coating extends cylinder life 8 times longer than traditional c...

Hydroelectric turbine systems operate in extremely harsh conditions. The...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

SAP for Utilities Blog

The Eventful Group produces the annual SAP for Utilites Conference ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS