Biomass is a very versatile resource that can be used to produce heat, electricity, transport fuels and a range of chemicals and materials. It is used in all these applications today, and its future demand is estimated to grow substantially.
In particular, bioenergy is expected to play an increasing role in the future energy system, with benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy security and rural development. However, a significant growth in bioenergy will present sustainability challenges, in particular as it may rely on energy crops. The production of these crops could lead to competition for land with food crops and land use change resulting in environmental and social impacts.
Furthermore, benefits and negative impacts will depend very much on the type of biomass resource and its management. Avoiding or mitigating such risks is crucial to the sustainable future of the industry. Dealing with these risks requires an understanding of the risks, innovation in bioenergy systems, and regulatory and industry measures.