Bioenergy­-For What and How Much? Now in Russian and in English!

26.02.2008 - (idw) Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

How far can bioenergy go in the energy systems of tomorrow? How much bioenergy can we extract from forests and farm fields, and what should it be used for? What incentives and regulations are necessary to increase the use of biofuels? What contradictions are there between increased biofuel production and other environmental goals? These and other questions are addressed in the Formas pocket book Bioenergy­-For What and How Much? "Bioenergy is one of the hottest environmental and energy issues in the world today," says Rolf Annerberg, director general of the Swedish Research Council Formas. "We have therefore had Bioenergy­-For What and How Much? translated into both Russian and English."

The use of bioenergy is rising dramatically around the world. In Sweden bioenergy is a major resource. Prime Minister Göran Persson's Oil Commission found that Sweden could double its use of bioenergy by 2050. But is this realistic? And what's happening in other countries?

Globally speaking, there is not enough bioenergy to replace fossil fuels, according to three scientists from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the chapter "Biomass­A Scarce Resource in a Global Perspective." Several authors stress that land is a limiting factor and that we must take into consideration the energy benefits extracted per hectare.

"Invest in radical technological change, not biofuels," write two researchers from Umeĺ University in Sweden. They provide a historical review of international energy developments.

Which bioenergy systems should we commit to? A scientist from Lund University in Sweden maintains that it is difficult to generalize, but that forest fuels and energy forests are efficient in terms of energy, the environment, and costs. What's more, energy combinations appear to be efficient, where we can produce many different things at the same time, including heat, electricity, and vehicle fuel.

A researcher from Mid Sweden University writes that with today's technology it is more efficient for the climate to produce heat and electricity than fuel from biomass. But new technology is in the pipeline that will improve the climate efficiency of this fuel.

Today the trend is to shift from oil dependency to alcohol dependency when it comes to fuels, according to a researcher from Chalmers. We run the risk of committing ourselves too much to technologies and systems that are not optimal in the long run. He points out that a thousand large-scale and efficient bioenergy facilities would be needed to replace all fossil fuels in the EU.

Other chapters in the book deal with issues like the trade-off between bioenergy and food production, global trade with biofuels, fertilizing and biotechnology to increase the yield of raw materials from forests, various incentives and regulations to increase the production of biofuels, the varying degrees of greenhouse-gas neutrality in biofuels, and how increased biofuel production squares with the preservation of biological diversity.

The book targets decision-makers, the general public, and students in upper-secondary school and up.

For more information about the book and its authors, please contact www.formas.se The book costs SEK 51 (c. EUR 6 or USD 6.70) and can be ordered at www.formas.se or in bookstores. For review copies, please contact lena.jansson@formas.se, phone: +46 (0)8-775 40 65

For more information, please contact: Birgitta Johansson, the Swedish Research Council Formas, birgitta.johansson@formas.se; Emilie von Essen, the Swedish Research Council Formas, eve@formas.se Reference link:

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Weitere Informationen: http://www.formas.se