When it comes to the list of the most utilised renewables, Bioenergy comes in slightly lower than Hydropower, Solar and Wind. It’s not as widely covered, talked about or debated. However despite its overlooked nature, it should not be underestimated .Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director called Bioenergy the “overlooked giant of the renewable energy field.” Further adding : “ 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.”
In fact, modern Bioenergy is reported to have the biggest growth in renewable resources between 2018 and 2023, according to a latest forecast by International Energy Agency (IEA). Bioenergy also has the edge on wind and solar due to its widespread use in heat and transport, sectors in which other renewables currently play a much smaller role.
So, what is Bioenergy then? Put it simply, Bioenergy is the chemical energy contained in organic matter aka biomass , which can be converted into energy forms that can be used directly, such as electricity, heat and liquid fuel. Biomass, quite simply refers to organic matter of recently living plant or animal origin. This makes it a non- fossil fuel, and a big load off the environment’s back.
IEA’s focus on Bioenergy is part of its analysis of the “blind spots” of the energy system. This refers to issues that are critical to the evolution of the energy sector but receive less attention than they deserve.
According to the IEA, Bioenergy will remain the largest source of renewable energy over the upcoming five years. It will account for 30% of the growth in renewable consumption from 2008 through 2023. The IEA attributed this to its considerable usage in heat and transportation, which account for 80% of final energy consumption.
Other noteworthy statistics about Bioenergy that IEA :
- Bioenergy power to increase 37GW over the next five years, reading 158GW in 2023
- An accelerated case for bioenergy shows potential for a 50% increase in potential capacity
- Modern bioenergy produced almost 70% of direct renewable heat in 2017 and meets 8% of industrial heat demand
- Consumption of bioenergy by the industrial sector is expected to grow 13% over the next five years
- The IEA predicts bioenergy use will grow by 8% through 2023
- The EU accounts for 54% of global bioenergy consumption in the residential sector
According to the IEA, the growth in biofuels could be even more significant over the next five years. If the market remains favourable and policy conditions are stable, bioenergy could reach nearly 206 billion litres of production.