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Assessment of global bioenergy potentials

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So far, various studies assessed global biomass potentials and came up with widely varying results. Existing potential estimates range from 0 EJ/a up to more than 1,550 EJ/a which corresponds to about three times the current global primary energy consumption. This paper provides an overview of the available research on bioenergy potentials and reviews the different assessments qualitative way with the objective to interpret previous research in an integrated way. In the context of this paper we understand bioenergy as energy from biomass sources including energy crops, residues, byproducts and wastes from agriculture, forestry, food production and waste management. In this review special attention was paid to the difference between residue and energy potentials, land availability estimates, and the geographical resolution of existing potential estimates. The majority of studies concentrate on energy crop potentials retrieved from surplus agricultural land and only few publications assess global potentials separated by different world regions. It results that land allocated to the exclusive production of energy crops varies from 0 to 7,000 ha, depending on land category and scenario assumptions. Only a small number of available potential assessments consider residue potentials as well as energy crop potentials from degraded land. Future energy crop potentials are assumed to vary in the mean from 200 to 600 EJ/yr. In contrast residue potentials are expected to contribute between 62 and 325 EJ/yr. The highest potentials are assigned to Asia, Africa and South America while Europe, North America and the Pacific region contribute minor parts to the global potential.

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Correspondence to Ruth Offermann.

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Offermann, R., Seidenberger, T., Thrän, D. et al. Assessment of global bioenergy potentials. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 16, 103–115 (2011).

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