Bioenergy – the energy derived from fuels of biological origin, such as biodiesel and bioethanol – has "a great potential for growth" and will be key to boost the renewable energy sector, said the director of the International Energy Agency. Energy (AIE), Fatih Birol.
Birol presented in London the report "Renewables 2018", which states that bioenergy, based on fuel obtained from plants, such as cereals or sugars, and its derivatives, will lead the expansion of renewable energy by 2023.
The Agency predicts that in the next five years renewable energy – solar, hydraulic, wind, tidal, geothermal or biomass – will continue its rise, to represent around 40% of global growth in energy consumption.
However, to reverse the dominant position still held by fossil fuel, such as oil, "we must invest and promote more renewable energy, improve energy efficiency and improve carbon capture and storage technologies," he said. Birol
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released a study in North Korea that warns that global warming must be limited to 1.5ºC by the end of the century, to prevent further extinction of species or reduce the rise in sea level.
To achieve this goal, the IEA considers it vital to promote more the renewable energy sector and especially bioenergy, "which is less talked about than solar or wind energy" although it represents 50% of the global alternative energy consumption.
According to the Agency, bioenergy is important because, unlike other renewable sources, which grow in the field of electricity generation, "is implanted" in the most complex transport and heating sectors, representing 80% of consumption global energy
Brazil is the country in the world with the highest proportion of renewables in all its energy sources, with 45% of the total expected consumption in 2023, and China is the country that grows the most in absolute terms, the IEA notes.
Asia and Latin America "lead the growth of biofuel production", particularly China and Brazil, which is expected to implement its RenovaBio program in 2020, which will increase investment in its production plants.
The Agency warns that there is "a great potential to increase the use of bioenergy in the cement subsector", where it could be obtained mainly from waste, as well as in those of sugar and ethanol, if they increase their efficiency.
"Modern bioenergy has great potential for future growth," Birol said, noting however that "it is essential that the appropriate policies and strict regulations are applied to ensure sustainability."
According to the environmental groups, the risks of bioenergy are the possible displacement of crops destined to produce food or the rise in the prices of these crops, which would affect food security.
In addition, it is feared that the pressure will increase to extend the crops to fragile ecosystems or forests and forests, in order to increase the production of vegetables susceptible to be transformed into fuel.
Paolo Frankl, author of the IEA study, admitted today that bioenergy "is controversial" because it is not always "neutral in emissions", but said that this can be corrected if measures are introduced to protect land use, restrict fertilizers and limit the crops of vegetables for human consumption.
Frankl said that there are also "great opportunities" to produce bioenergy from biomass obtained from forest waste, such as dry leaves or fallen logs, which "requires improving the management of this waste."