Future perspectives of international bioenergy trade

According to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2012, primary demand for bioenergy will strongly increase up to the year 2035: the demand for biofuels and biomass for electricity is expected to triple. These changes will have an impact on the regional balance of demand and supply of bioenergy leading to both increasing trade flows and changes in trade patterns. The GFPM, TIMER and POLES models have been selected for a detailed comparison of scenarios and their impact on global bioenergy trade: In ambitious scenarios, 14–26% of global bioenergy demand is traded between regions in 2030. The model scenarios show a huge range of potential bioenergy trade: for solid biomass, in ambitious scenarios bioenergy trade ranges from 700 Mt to more than 2,500 Mt in 2030. For liquid biomass, the ambitious scenarios show a bioenergy trade in the range of 65 – >360 Mt in 2030. Considering the currently very small share of internationally traded bioenergy, this would result in huge challenges and require tremendous changes in terms of production, pretreatment of biomass and development of logistic chains.

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