Energy Renewable Energy Bio-energy

Is bio-energy dead?



Challenges from financial and regulatory dimensions are dimming the promise of biomass as a sustainable source for utility-scale power generation. Yet, novel applications could keep the industry alive.

Perspectives and insights

  • So long as natural gas remains at historically low levels, the demand for electricity remains flat, and the controversy regarding the ‘carbon-neutral’ nature of biomass remains unresolved, interest and investment in new biomass energy facilities is likely to be low
  • Wood and wood waste, black liquor [a byproduct of making wood pulp], municipal solid waste, and landfill gas are four feedstocks that account for more than 94% of biomass and waste electricity generation in 2018 in the US.
  • Biomass can be burned with very low oxygen to produce biochar.
  • From an environmental perspective, biomass energy faces greater challenges than other renewable resources owing to the question of whether CO2 emitted from combusting biomass is ‘carbon neutral’.