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Under dinosaurs reign, bioenergy the largest renewable energy source – WBA

Fossil fuels dominate the global energy supply. 81 percent of the total primary energy supply (TPES) which includes production, imports, exports, and bunkers in 2018 was supplied by coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Renewable energy sources had a share of 13.8 percent of the total primary energy supply in 2018 of which bioenergy had the lion's share according to a new report from the World Bioenergy Association (WBA).

Fossil fuels dominate the global energy mix – 81% of the total primary energy supply (TPES) which includes production, imports, exports, and bunkers in 2018 was supplied by coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Renewable energy sources had a share of 13.8% of the global TPES in 2018 of which bioenergy had the lion’s share (graphic courtesy WBA).

Published annually, the Global Bioenergy Statistics (GBS) report is the flagship publication of the World Bioenergy Association (WBA). The WBA GBS report focuses on the global development of biomass to energy – supply, production, and consumption. The data is presented on different geographical levels – global, continental, and regional levels covering all sectors of bioenergy – liquid biofuels, biogas, pellets, forestry, agriculture, and biogenic wastes.

The WBA GBS 2020 report (data from 2018) shows that fossil fuels still dominate the global energy mix. Furthermore, in 2018, gross final energy consumption – which includes the total final consumption of all energy sources including the electricity and heat consumption at all end-use sectors – of all energy sources was 471 EJ.

The share of renewables has remained relatively constant at around 17 percent since the start of the century of which bioenergy accounts for over 70 percent or 12 percent of the gross final energy consumption in 2018.

Our report shows, that the efforts to replace fossil energy must definitely be increased. Bioenergy is currently making the largest contribution to renewable energy use. Substantial improvements in technology will allow it to extend this role in the future and to secure a sustainable energy supply that respects nature and prevents a climate disaster, commented Dr Christian Rakos, President of the WBA.

Key findings include:

Electricity – renewables have shown remarkable growth in the electricity sector, but even with such a rapid growth, renewables share in electricity is still at 26 percent. Bioenergy is the third-largest renewable electricity source generating 637 TWh in 2018.

Heat – More than half of all energy use globally is in the form of heat either via production in power plants and distributed to end-users (derived) or via direct use in various sectors. The share of renewables in derived heat is only 8.1 percent while the share is 26 percent for direct heat. Bioenergy is the largest renewable heat source accounting for more than 95 percent share.

Transport – The share of renewables in transport is the lowest among all end-use sectors. In 2018, 160 billion litres of liquid biofuels were produced with a contribution of 3 percent to the total transport energy demand. In the same year, 59.3 billion m3 of biogas was produced globally – 52 percent of it in Europe.

Fuels – Wood pellets are one of the fastest-growing bioenergy sectors. In 2019, an estimated 39 million tonnes of wood pellets were produced globally. In the same year, 53 million tonnes of wood charcoal was produced – 65 percent in the African continent for use as fuel for heating and cooking.

Jobs – Bioenergy sector employed an estimated 3.58 million people globally. The sector is the second-largest employer among renewable energy sources

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