Bioenergy: Techno-Economic Background

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Back to Bioenergy Decision Support Tool

Here you find a summary of the chapter of the UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool (DST). The complete chapte can be found here.

Definitions and Terms

Definitions and Terms demonstrate the Unified Bioenergy Terminology of the FAO (FAO-UBET 2004) by defining some key terms (Biomass, traditional and modern Bioenergy, measurement and properties of Bioenergy).

Biomass Resources

The chapter Biomass Resources gives a short overview about the energy potential of different types of biomass and where to cultivate them: The way plants conduct photosynthesis is essential for their energetic value and for most of the plants, there are very specific regions where they grow. A brief outline of how a biomass resource assessment might be conducted, enumerates the essential parameters for energy crops and biomass-wastes: Identification of infrastructure for cultivation, estimation of production/transport/labor costs or, for biomass-wastes, where to find or locate processing sites.

Bioenergy Production Chain

The Bioenergy Production Chain names important facts about processing, transport and storage of biofuels. This includes processing-advice such as to press biomass into pellets.

Sectors and Applications

The different sectors being of relevance for the energetic use of biomass are analyzed: these include households, village, heat and power, industry and transport.

Bioenergy Conversion Processes

In this part,the various are described, ways feedstocks such as oil or sugar crops can be converted into biofuels like biodiesel, bioethanol or hydrogen via different ways of processing such as fermentation or gasification. Furthermore, properties of processing methods are introduced.

Bioenergy Systems

Bioenergy Systems differ with respect to their efficiency, scale and cost. The presence of (non-) energetic by-products further complicates the evaluation of processing methods. Some issues and advises concerning the processing of biomass are named, such as anaerobic digestion for biomass containing a lot of moisture.

Liquid and Gaseous Fuels

Sugarcane with a bowl of sugar; the cane can be used to produce biofuel

Liquid and Gaseous Fuels are two kind of fuels that require different crops to be made from. Sugar and starchy crops are used for producing liquid fuel whereas biogas is often made from wet sources such as municipal solid waste.

Further Information