Biomass and Bioenergy 30 (2006) 706–714
Worldwide commercial development of bioenergy with afocus on energy crop-based projects
WrightLink Consulting, 111 Crosswinds Cove Road, Ten Mile, TN 37880, USA
Received 10 December 2004; received in revised form 25 August 2005; accepted 26 August 2005Available online 19 May 2006
Bioenergy consumption is greatest in countries with heavy subsidies or tax incentives, such as China, Brazil, and Sweden. Conversionof forest residues and agricultural residues to charcoal, district heat and home heating are the most common forms of bioenergy. Biomasselectric generation feedstocks are predominantly forest residues (including black liquor), bagasse, and other agricultural residues. Biofuelfeedstocks include sugar from sugarcane (in Brazil), starch from maize grain (in the US), and oil seeds (soy or rapeseed) for biodiesel(in the US, EU, and Brazil). Of the six large land areas of the world reviewed (China, EU, US, Brazil, Canada, Australia), total biomassenergy consumptions amounts to 17.1EJ. Short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) established in Brazil, New Zealand, and Australia overthe past 25 years equal about 50,000km
. SRWC plantings in China may be in the range of 70,000–100,000km
. SRWC and other energycrops established in the US and EU amount to less than 1000km
. With some exceptions (most notably in Sweden and Brazil), theSRWC have been established for purposes other than as dedicated bioenergy feedstocks, however, portions of the crops are (or areplanned to be) used for bioenergy production. New renewable energy incentives, greenhouse gas emission targets, synergism withindustrial waste management projects, and oil prices exceeding 60$Bbl
(in 2005) are major drivers for SRWC or energy crop basedbioenergy projects.
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Biomass energy; Biomass projects; Short-rotation crops; Energy crops; Bioenergy drivers
Many countries around the world have been developingnew crops since the mid-1970s in order to increase thebiomass resource base for production of bioenergy. TheInternational Energy Agency (IEA) initiated a BioenergyAgreement in 1978 with the aim of improving cooperationand information exchange between countries that havenational programs on bioenergy research, development anddeployment. The current IEA Bioenergy Task (Task 30)dealing with energy crop development is called Short-rotation Crops for Bioenergy Systems
. Many differentperennial and annual crops can be included under thisheading and this paper will refer to all ‘‘crop’’ sources of lignocellulose as ‘‘energy crops
. Since 1978, the technicalfeasibility of producing energy crops has progressedsigniﬁcantly and several energy crop based bioenergyprojects have been started. This paper reviews the statusof all biomass consumption and speciﬁcally the contribu-tion of energy crops to biomass consumption. Brief projectstatus reports explain some of the reasons why greatercommercial utilization of energy crop technology has notoccurred after 30 years of technology development.
ARTICLE IN PRESS
Short Rotation Crops are deﬁned in the IEA Bioenergy Task 30objective statement as ‘‘woody crops such as willows, poplars, Robiniaand Eucalyptus with coppicing abilities, as well as lignocellulosic cropssuch as reed canary grass and Miscanthus’’.
The lignocellulosic or energy crop technologies discussed in this paperencompass short-rotation coppice (SRC), short rotation woody crop(SRWC) technology which does not necessarily involve coppicing, theherbaceous energy crop (HEC) technology which is normally applied toperennial grasses, and annual crops such as maize and soybeans when theyare used for food, energy and other bioproducts.