Securing a bioenergy future without imports

TitleSecuring a bioenergy future without imports
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWelfle A, Gilbert P, Thornley P
JournalEnergy Policy
Keywordsbiomass, Energy, Resource

The UK has legally binding renewable energy and greenhouse gas targets. Energy from biomass is anticipated to make major contributions to these. However there are concerns about the availability and sustainability of biomass for the bioenergy sector. A Biomass Resource Model has been developed that reflects the key biomass supply-chain dynamics and interactions determining resource availability, taking into account climate, food, land and other constraints. The model has been applied to the UK, developing four biomass resource scenarios to analyse resource availability and energy generation potential within different contexts. The model shows that indigenous biomass resources and energy crops could service up to 44% of UK energy demand by 2050 without impacting food systems. The scenarios show, residues from agriculture, forestry and industry provide the most robust resource, potentially providing up to 6.5% of primary energy demand by 2050. Waste resources are found to potentially provide up to 15.4% and specifically grown biomass and energy crops up to 22% of demand. The UK is therefore projected to have significant indigenous biomass resources to meet its targets. However the dominant biomass resource opportunities identified in the paper are not consistent with current UK bioenergy strategies, risking biomass deficit despite resource abundance.

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