Energy Renewable Energy Bio-energy

Where does bioenergy fit into a low-carbon future?

Bio-energy

Summary

This study evaluates the commercial potential of bioenergy and impacts of a large-scale bioenergy ramp-up, using a framework in which economics is linked to land, climate, and ecosystems models.

Perspectives and insights

  • If emissions from deforestation are included in a carbon price, bioenergy can reduce emissions 57 percent by 2050, relative to when there is not a carbon price. Interestingly, not counting emissions from changing land use in the carbon price leads to a reduction of only 16 percent, owing to deforestation that can occur for bio-energy production under this scenario.
  • Lignocellulosic ethanol has the potential to become the dominant type of bioenergy by 2050.
  • If lignocellulosic fuels do become the norm, Africa and Brazil become the largest producers of bioenergy.
  • Deforestation was likely to occur in areas with the weakest political constraints to clearing forests, regardless of where biofuels are actually grown.