A Brief Global Perspective on Biomass for Bioenergy and Biofuels

Richard Vlosky, Roger Smithhart


Biomass has a large energy potential. A comparison between the available potential with the current use shows that, on a worldwide level, about two-fifths of the existing biomass energy potential is used. In most areas of the world the current biomass use is clearly below the available potential. Only for Asia does the current use exceed the available potential, i.e. non-sustainable biomass use. Therefore, increased biomass use, e.g. for upgrading is possible in most countries. A possible alternative is to cover the future demand for renewable energy, by increased utilization of forest residues and residues from the wood processing industry, e.g. for production of densified biofuels (Parrika, 2004).

If carried out on a large scale, the increased use of agricultural resources for energy will have the effect of raising the prices of most commodity crops and reducing the need for subsidies – with particular benefit for producers of commodity crops in developing countries. An aggressive program of bioenergy development could lead to reductions in government support to farmers without any loss of income. The long-term success of bio-based facilities and markets is dependent in part on the level of commitment of feedstock from forest landowners and farmers.  Forest, crop, and animal residues present considerable potential as a biomass feedstock.  They are renewable, sustainable, locally available, and often considered carbon-neutral when compared to fossil fuels (Hoogwijk, 2004; Mathews, 2008).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.31357/jtfe.v1i1.79

DOI (PDF): https://doi.org/10.31357/jtfe.v1i1.79.g34


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Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka