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Title: Bioenergy in Energy Transformation and Climate Management

Unlike fossil fuels, biomass is a renewable resource that can sequester carbon during growth, be converted to energy, and then re-grown. Biomass is also a flexible fuel that can service many end-uses. This paper explores the importance of bioenergy to potential future energy transformation and climate change management. Using a model comparison of fifteen models, we characterize and analyze future dependence on, and the value of, bioenergy in achieving potential long-run climate objectives—reducing radiative forcing to 3.7 and 2.8 W/m2 in 2100 (approximately 550 and 450 ppm carbon dioxide equivalent atmospheric concentrations). Model scenarios project, by 2050, bioenergy growth of 2 to 10% per annum reaching 5 to 35 percent of global primary energy, and by 2100, bioenergy becoming 15 to 50 percent of global primary energy. Non-OECD regions are projected to be the dominant suppliers of biomass, as well as consumers, with up to 35 percent of regional electricity from biopower by 2050, and up to 70 percent of regional liquid fuels from biofuels by 2050. Bioenergy is found to be valuable to many models with significant implications for mitigation costs and world consumption. The availability of bioenergy, in particular biomass with carbon dioxide capture and storage (BECCS), notablymore » affects the cost-effective global emissions trajectory for climate management by accommodating prolonged near-term use of fossil fuels. We also find that models cost-effectively trade-off land carbon and nitrous oxide emissions for the long-run climate change management benefits of bioenergy. Overall, further evaluation of the viability of global large-scale bioenergy is merited.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Climatic Change, 123(3-4):477-493
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States