Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Mobilising Global Bioenergy Supply Chains: Keys to unlocking the potential of bioenergy

  • Philip Peck
  • Göran Berndes
  • Bo Hektor
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Publication/Series: IIIEE Reports
Volume: 2011:02
Document type: Report
Publisher: International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University

Abstract english

This work is underlain by broad-based expectations that policy interventions such as EU 2020 goals for renewable energy will continue to drive increased international trade in biomass for energy. This work focuses on where and how large volumes of biomass for bioenergy may be brought to the market in the short to medium term and sought insights in the following areas:

• the manner in which demand for biofuels can be driven by political goals;

• the realism of expectations that biofuels can achieve political goals;

• the nature of production/consumption structures and potential in different regions;

• competence and resource needs for international bioenergy trade;

• the nature of synergies and competition with incumbent industries.

The work first examines immaturity and diversity in the bioenergy industry, and then presents and dissects policy cases to examine policy-making strengths and weaknesses. Management literature for emerging industrial sectors and policy literature are then used to support analysis of challenges posed by diversity in geographical, socio-economic conditions, and by energy carrier and supply chains differences. Arguments are then developed that a significant contribution to progress can be made by enhancing collective action; ‘standardisation’ of ‘bioenergy offerings’; building the profession and professionalism; by improved interplay with other industries and stakeholders, and by improved input to policy-making processes.

The report then presents quantifications for biomass resources potentially available in the near to medium term. These include residue flows from agriculture and forestry, and new dedicated agriculture-derived feedstock supply systems. Importantly, modelling supporting this analysis indicates that there is substantial scope for land-minimizing growth of world food supply. This is feasible through efficiency improvements in the food chains from existing land-in-use. Scenarios presented here indicate that it is feasible to reduce global agricultural requirements some 230 Mha from current levels while still meeting dietary requirements (mainstream FAO estimates indicate expansion by 280Mha). This provides significant scope for expansion of dedicated energy crops. If higher productivity is combined with dietary changes toward less land-demanding food, then agricultural area available for biomass-for-energy could increase to some 1000 Mha.

The discussions in this report – institutional, supply chain, and biomass-bioenergy potential – all find common themes that point towards needs for enhanced sectoral action. These include: increased bioenergy-industry professionalism, aligned and consistent forms of collective action, strategic efforts to markedly increase public and political acceptance, more synergistic alliances with incumbent industries, careful application of third-party assessment schemes, the building of resilient technology strategies, and the consistent sourcing of biomass via pathways that remain accepted (legitimate) in the eyes of critical stakeholders.

This analysis concludes that many of the constraints or ‘barriers’ being experienced by the sector can be anticipated by examination of ongoing events through management and policy assessment lenses. This in turn indicates that guidance is available for action, both in theory, and by building upon the documented experiences of other emerging sectors. However, it is also concluded that more evidence from the field is vital to enrich this work and the value it may offer the sector. The report closes with brief delineation of research work required to better document where, how and when the industry might act to more effectively – and legitimately – unlock the potential of bioenergy on a global scale. It also calls for dissemination of this report in global bioenergy networks as a seed for future work for the international bioenergy community.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • ISSN: 1650-1675
  • ISBN: 978-91-88902-78-8
Philip Peck
E-mail: philip [dot] peck [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10