Biomass and energy crops in United States of America are both expected to increase total share of primary energy as reported by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) in its very recent report..

REmap 2030 is IRENA’s assessment of how countries can work together to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. It represents an unprecedented international effort that brings together the work of more than 90 national experts in nearly 60 countries, who continue to collaborate through global webinars, regional meetings, and national workshops involving technology experts, industry bodies and policy makers. The global REmap report was released in June 2014.

As main findings the executive summary report shows the following KEY achievements and results from the IRENA REmap 2030 assessment:

* The renewable energy share in the US energy mix was 7.5% in 2010 (the base year of REmap 2030 analysis). This included 2.5% renewable power, 1.6% liquid biofuels and the remaining, 3.4%, largely solid biomass used for heating in the manufacturing industry and buildings.

* Under a conservative “business as usual” case, known in this report as the Reference Case, this share will only increase to 10% by 2030. The REmap analysis shows that it is technically feasible and cost-effective to increase the renewable energy share in total final energy consumption to 27% by utilizing existing renewable energy technologies.

* Increasing the renewable energy share to 27% would save the US economy between USD 30 and USD 140 billion per year by 2030 when accounting for benefits resulting from reduced health effects and CO2 emissions.

* Increasing the renewable energy share to 27% would require an additional investment of USD 38 billion per year in energy capacity over business as usual, resulting in total investment flows into renewable energy capacity of USD 86 billion per year.

 

Might lower cost per hectare in marginal lands determine lower  inputs and delivered biomass costs per ton in the gate of our facilities?

What is the best way to minimie supply costs for fuel? Only way to reduce costs is to grow biomass close to your area using best techniques and efficiency, and lowest production costs per MMBTU delivered

Energy Crops

Energy Crops expected to contribute up to 35% of total biomass supply in USA by 2030 (Source: IRENA 2015).

Energy Crops expected to contribute up to 35% of total biomass supply in USA by 2030 (Source: IRENA 2015).

IRENA has conducted a biomass supply analysis (2014c) for the US and has come to a similar result for the high supply potential, but with more lower end supply potential.

Other previous studies for all US geography (2012) pblished by UCS had shown that Energy crops offer the greatest opportunity to expand energy production from biomass:

  • Energy crops include tall grasses like switchgrass and miscanthus, and fast-growing trees like hybrid poplar and willow. As much as 400 million dry tons of these crops could be produced each year by 2030.
  • Energy crops produce energy efficiently, requiring only modest amounts of fertilizer and pesticide, and less fertile soil than is needed for other types of agriculture.
  • Time and significant changes in agricultural practices are needed to realize the full potential of energy crops, but expanding the role of perennial grasses in agriculture offers important climate and water quality benefits.
Many areas have lands not profitable for wood but competitive for species already tested as biomass dedicated energy crops

Many areas have lands not profitable for wood but competitive for species already tested as biomass dedicated energy crops

According to this analysis, which estimates the biomass supply potential of seven different biomass types for more than 100 countries, the lower end of the supply potential for the US could be approximately 18.9 EJ by 2030. The higher end is estimated at 22.7 EJ, including 7.5 EJ of biomass crops on surplus agricultural land or wood/grasses crop potential on marginal land; an additional 7.2-7.4 EJ of forestry residue biomass resulting from logging/forest thinning operations; agricultural crop residues as well as food and animal waste up to 7.8 EJ by 2030. Total biomass supply potential in the US is about 15-20% of the total global biomass supply potential of 95-145 EJ (IRENA, 2014c). If all the US biomass supply potential was to be deployed, about 20% of the US total primary energy supply today would be provided by bioenergy.

Energy crops are possible in several locations. Even on marginal areas there are land restoration alternatives with great “real estate” business models.

Sources:

1) IRENA (2014c), Global bioenergy supply and demand projections for the year 2030, Working Paper, IRENA, Abu Dhabi. 

2) Biomass Resources in the United States (2012)

See full IRENA report here

 

 

 

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