Dependence on oil imports - and the world's current transport sector is almost entirely dependent on oil - generates vulnerability to supply disruptions and fluctuation of oil prices. This is expected to be exacerbated by the projected increase in the world energy demand of up to 50% by 2030.
Trajectory without change world primary energy demand
Source: IEA World Energy Outlook - Reference Scenario
Expenditures for oil imports put a particular strain on developing countries' budgets. Locally produced biofuels, therefore, have a great potential to reduce dependency and oil bills and substantially strengthen access to energy.
Enlarging the group of countries producing for the liquid fuel market and international trade in biofuels will diversify supply and thereby reduce the risk of disruption of supply. Many nations have the ability to produce their own efficient and sustainable Bioenergy from agriculture, forestry and urban wastes.
Bioenergy production potential 2050
Currently, Bioenergy in form of liquid biofuels - despite a doubling over the past five years, currently supply just 1,5% of global transport fuels.
Triggered by high oil prices and biofuel targets put into place by a number of governments around the globe, investment into Bioenergy increased from US$ 2.6 billion in 2005 to $21 billion in 2006, according to a report by the Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative (SEFI). In addition, a number of government and companies are heavily investing in R&D for so called 2nd generation technologies. These investments will lead to an increase in the share of bioenergy to overall energy supply.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that Bioenergy could supply up to 25% of world primary energy by 2050.
Global Energy Supply and Sustainable Bionergy Potential
(Source: IEA, 2007, and Best et al,2008)
Biomass resources can be used most efficiently if they are grown and used for a primary purpose, such as food or fibre, and energy is subsequently extracted from their field or manufacturing residues. With oil prices continuing to rise, materials derived from fossil fuels, such as plastic textiles, will become more expensive and create higher value opportunities for products based on biomass. Converting residues and other organic waste streams into biogas and other fuels is already underway in several countries, and will increase with 2nd generation technologies and feedstocks.
Identifying and reaching a sustainable potential of bioenergy depends on several factors, including:
- The resolution of environmental and social concerns about food security, vulnerable communities, water resources, and deforestation;
- Increased production from technical innovation in agriculture and forestry;
- The overall dynamics of the food, feed and fiber markets; and
- Regional measures that address climate change impacts.