ETC warns on limits to biomass role in energy transition


The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) has warned that rapidly increasing demand for biomass and biofuel could exceed sustainable supply, and should only be used in a narrow range of difficult-to-decarbonize applications, reported S&P Global Platts.

Biofuels should be phased out from road transport entirely by 2050, with biomass as a material prioritized over its use as an energy source, the ETC said in a report published Tuesday.

Some energy for biomass uses will remain, such as in aviation, where decarbonized alternative fuels are not well developed. The 'Bioresources Within a Net-Zero Emissions Economy: Making a Sustainable Approach Possible' report said most current bioenergy uses, in particular road transport and bulk power generation, would be uneconomic compared to renewable electricity or hydrogen. "Biomass can make a really valuable contributio n to the world's decarbonization," ETC Chair Adair Turner said in a statement. "But truly sustainable biomass is limited in volume, so its use must be restricted to priority sectors where alternative decarbonization options don't exist".

The ETC is a coalition of more than 45 leaders from global energy companies, energy intensive industries, financial institutions and environmental advocates.

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