UTILIZING BIOMASS CROPS AS AN ENERGY-SOURCE - A EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE

JMO SCURLOCK*, DO HALL, Joanna Isobel House

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Biomass can be grown to act as a carbon (C) store, or as a direct substitute for fossil fuels (with no net contribution to atmospheric CO2 if produced and used sustainably). There is great potential for the modernisation of biomass fuels to produce convenient energy carriers such as electricity and liquid fuels. Bioenergy accounts for about 15% of primary energy used throughout the world, and 4% of energy used in Western Europe. Several European countries plan to significantly increase their use of bioenergy and some already obtain over 10% of their energy from biomass fuels. The European Community (EC) is planning to implement policies which will more than double the use of biomass by 2005, with biofuels taking 5% of the motor vehicle fuel market, and a resultant reduction in CO2 emissions of about 180 million tonnes (Mt), equivalent to 50 Mt C/yr. The potential contribution of biofuels is even greater, especially with all the 'set-aside' land being taken out of production. Use of 15-20 million hectares (Mha) of agricultural land for biomass crops could represent an annual sink of some 90-120 Mt C or else offset between 50 Mt C and 120 Mt C from fossil fuel emissions, depending on the fuel displaced (7-17% of total EC carbon emissions). Policies are needed that will encourage the penetration of biofuels into the market such as increased support for research, development and demonstration, subsidies for biofuels, and carbon taxes on fossil fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-518
Number of pages20
JournalWater, Air and Soil Pollution
Volume70
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1993
EventINTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON TERRESTRIAL BIOSPHERIC CARBON FLUXES : QUANTIFICATION OF SINKS AND SOURCES OF CO2 - BAD HARZBURG, Germany
Duration: 1 Mar 19935 Mar 1993

Keywords

  • ATMOSPHERIC CARBON
  • OPTIONS
  • DIOXIDE

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