Global charcoal output almost double that of pellets
About 52 million tonnes of charcoal was produced 2013 almost double that of pellets by volume basis, a new World Bioenergy Association (WBA) report reveals.
– Charcoal is a highly underestimated sector. Global production is almost twice that of pellets. However the amount of wood used to produce charcoal is perhaps 4 to 5 times the amount to produce pellets due to low conversion efficiencies and lower energy content of the fuel, said Bharadwaj V Kummamuru, Project Officer, WBA and Lead Author of the report.
Published by WBA, a global organization supporting the bioenergy sector, the report, “WBA Global Bioenergy Statistics 2016” shows that wood-based biomass is by far the largest contributor to the total biomass supply with 88 percent share 2013. The report notes the lion’s share of this is fuelwood followed by charcoal both of which predominately produced in Africa and Asia and used for direct heat such as household cooking and heating.
Food, fuel and protein
The report emphasises that increasing crop yields is crucial for food, fuel and protein production. The increasing yields of three major crops – maize, rice and wheat – over the period 2000 to 2013 has reduced global land demand by 295, 123 and 152 million ha respectively, though the report highlights notable differences between regions suggesting room for improvement.
– If the average yields in Africa of these crops were the same as the global average the demand for land on the African continent could be reduced by half, said Kummamuru.
Agriculture generates residues and the report estimates the annual potential to be 17 EJ to 128 EJ noting that the next step is to estimate a sustainable potential for energy use.
According to the report, 112 million tonnes of ethanol and biodiesel was produced 2013 using agro-crops such as wheat, corn, sugar beet, sugarcane, oilseeds and palm. The total land use for this production was 71.1 million ha.
– However this biofuel production also produced almost 71 million tonnes of valuable protein in the form of distillers dried grains (DDGS) and press-cake as a by-product, ended Bharadwaj V Kummamuru.