WBA report illustrates global increase in bioenergy production

By Erin Voegele | June 12, 2014

The World Bioenergy Association recently released a report, titled “WBA Global Bioenergy Statistics 2014,” that determined renewables contributed 18.3 percent of the global energy mix, with bioenergy alone contributing approximately 14.1 percent.

Globally, the report shows that that most bioenergy resources are used to produce heat. While 50 percent of total global energy consumption from all sources goes to heat production, 92 percent of bioenergy resources are used to generate heat. Alternatively, the report shows that 20 percent of gross energy consumption is electricity, only 3 percent of bioenergy production goes to produce electricity. In addition, 30 percent of gross energy production is used for transportation, while only 5 percent of bioenergy is used in that sector.

Globally, the report estimates that Asia was the biggest consumer of bioenergy in 2011, with the vast majority of that consumption, 22.6 exajoules (EJ), from heat. Only 0.12 EJ and 0.4 EJ of bioenergy was consumed in Asia for transportation and electricity, respectively. America was the largest consumer of bioenergy for transport, with 1.73 EJ. The Americas also consumed 5.8 EJ of bioenergy for thermal applications and 0.4 EJ for electricity production. Europe was the largest consumer of bioenergy for electricity production, with 0.5 EJ. Europe also consumes 3.7 EJ of thermal bioenergy production and 0.59 EJ of bioenergy for transport. Africa was also a large consumer of bioenergy for heat, with 12.5 EJ consumed.

On a global basis, solid biomass is used to generate 89 percent of the bioenergy supply. Biofuels comprise 5 percent, followed by wastes at 4 percent and biogas at 2 percent. Together those resources equaled 54.9 EJ globally in 2011.

Biomass was used to produce only 170 TWh of electricity in 2000. By 2011, production has climbed to 422 TWh. On a regional basis, production in the E.U. increased from 46.6 TWh in 2000 to 153 TWh in 2011. Production in the U.S. also increased, from 71.7 TWh in 2000 to 77.5 TWh in 2011. Electricity production from biomass also increased in several other regions of the world. By 2011, China produced 42.3 TWh, Japan produced 37 TWh, Brazil produced 32.2 TWH and India produced 28.7 TWh. Canada, Russia and Australia produced a respective 10.8 TWh, 2.78 TWh and 2.10 TWh.

Biogas production has increased around the world, increasing from 292 petajoules (PJ) in 2000 to 1,103 PJ in 2011. The E.U. is the leader in biogas production, with 428 PJ in 2011. China produced 339 PJ of biogas that year, followed by the U.S. with 230 PJ.

The report also addresses pellet production, noting that 18.5 million tons of wood pellets were produced globally in 2012. Of that volume approximately 5.91 million metric tons per produced in the Americas.

A fully copy of the report, which also addresses biofuels, pyrolysis oil production and torrefaction development, can be downloaded from the WBA website.