A confluence of industry drivers such as regulatory framework and government support, long-term supply of low cost feedstock, and FITs and tax incentives for biomass energy use are anticipated to propel the use of biomass for energy generation.

Biomass Power Generation – A solution to Aggressive Green Power Strategies

Pratik Sharma | Transparency Market Research


With increasing utilization of renewables for power generation, biomass is poised to occupy significant share in the global renewable energy mix. Biomass currently accounts for 12% of the global energy supply mix. Of this, about 67% of bioenergy is used in developing countries, primarily for heating and cooking applications, whereas the rest is mainly used for industrial applications such as power generation, heating, and road transportation mostly in industrialized countries. Biomass is a carbon-neutral, environment-friendly, and sustainable source of power generation with a significant potential to reduce reliance on fossil fuel for power generation.


Technological Option & Stakeholders

The commercially available and successful biomass-to-power conversion techniques are direct combustion, anaerobic digestion, low percentage co-firing and combined heat and power (CHP), municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration, and landfill gas (LFG). Ongoing R&D for biomass-to-power conversion technologies has helped introduce several new biomass conversion technologies in the market. These technologies are less mature and only at the beginning of their deployment/research and development phase. They are atmospheric biomass gasification and pyrolysis, bio-hydrogen, bio-refineries, and integrated gasification combustion cycle.

Stakeholders in biomass energy value chain are generally involved in visioning exercises with planners, developers, executers, and others. Stakeholders are also expected to be involved in evaluations of residues, wastes, energy crops and other forms of biomass feedstocks to judge environmental and sustainability impacts. First level stakeholders (such as equipment suppliers, purchasers, and installers) involve stakeholders that are directly involved into the biomass value chain and are key decision makers, second level stakeholders (such as biomass power producers, financial institutions and other fund providers, and utilities and energy regulators) include individuals involved with designing, engineering, planning, permitting, and other due diligence. Third level stakeholders (general supportive bodies including NGOs, manufacturers not directly involved in supply of equipments) include those individuals who are not directly involved in the decision making procedures.

Value Chain for Biomass Power Generation

Current Status of Biomass use in Energy Generation

Currently nearly 72,571.9 MW of biomass power plants are installed across the globe and the biomass power generation from these plants is reported to be 413,778.1 Million KWh in 2013. Government support in the form of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), tax incentives, loan guarantees, and public competitive bidding were the major drivers of growth in the biomass power generation market. Proper regulatory framework and government support in terms of grants and funding programs that provide investment subsidies and tax benefits are likely to foster growth in the use of biomass for power generation.

Considering an optimistic estimates, it may be assumed that technological advancements related to biomass-to-energy conversion techniques and ongoing R&D to commercialize the use of biomass for power generation, would fuel additional growth in the biomass use for power generation.

Role of biomass in Aggressive Green Power Strategies

Many countries such as the U.S., U.K., and Germany provide a range of incentives and grants to encourage the development and use of biomass as a source of energy. Countries including India, Indonesia, Australia, and Poland are proposing legislation to boost investments in biomass power generation. Furthermore, these countries plan to provide FITs to encourage investors to enter the biomass industry. For e.g. numerous state level and national level incentives such as FITs, renewable purchase obligations (RPOs), generation-based incentives, and tax incentives are provided for installation and adoption of biomass as energy source. Moreover, various state governments are also providing preferential tariffs for biomass power generation.

Let us take another example; the European Union has established a target of 20% of renewable energy generation in the region by 2020; biomass is expected to be a key contributor in meeting this target. Biomass is currently one of the largest sources of renewable energy in Europe and is a relatively attractive option for energy generation. A number of regulations, legislations, and policies have been introduced in member states to promote the use of different types of biomass for energy applications. Current growth trends suggest that biomass would play an important role in EU’s renewable energy strategies by 2020.

A confluence of industry drivers such as regulatory framework and government support, long-term supply of low cost feedstock, and FITs and tax incentives for biomass energy use are anticipated to propel the use of biomass for energy generation. It is estimated that the biomass power installed capacity is anticipated to reach 122,331.6 MW by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 6.2% between 2014 and 2022. The above rise in the number of biomass power generation plants installed across the globe certainly makes biomass as one of the solution to aggressive green power strategies, and the rise is also expected to contribute to a greater extent in mitigating GHGs in the atmosphere.

About Pratik Sharma
Pratik is a self-driven writer with over 2.5 years of experience in the Energy industry. Currently, he is working as a Senior Research Associate, with a focus on Energy & Mining domain, for Transparency Market Research based in the U.S. Through his writing, he sheds light on energy storage, smart grid, and alternative energy projects. He earned an MBA (Power Management) degree from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, and B.E. (Mechanical) from the Gujarat University.

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