Imagine energy made from renewable sources that could fuel your car, warm our home, or transport a plane.
This energy source is not a fossil fuel, unlike petroleum, it is sustainable and increases the security of our energy supplies. It is sourced affordably and locally, and its industry stimulates regional development and employment in Australia.
Bioenergy is energy derived from plants, animals, and their by-products and residues. Agriculture, farming, human habitation and forestry generate crop wastes and remains, manures and sludges, rendered animal fats, used oils, and timber residues. These products are known collectively as “biomass”. Biomass converted to bioenergy can provide the power for our cities and industries, the liquid fuel for our planes and automobiles; it can heat our showers, and warm and cool our homes. For example:
We can create liquid fuel from sugarcane crop residues and used cooking oil.
We can create gas for heating and power from poultry farms and animal manures.
We can create heat from waste nut shells.
We can create power from timber industry waste materials.
Bioenergy is the world’s primary source of renewable energy, providing approximately a tenth of the world’s total primary energy. It has a long track record of cost-effectively reducing carbon emissions, improving energy productivity, generating reliable baseload renewable energy, and growing regional jobs around the world. But these technologies are not widely deployed in Australia, contributing only 0.9 per cent of Australia’s electricity output, well below the OECD average of 2.4 per cent.
Estimates indicate that bioenergy could sustainably contribute between 25% and 33% to the future global primary energy supply (up to 250 EJ) in 2050. It is the only renewable source that can replace fossil fuels in all energy markets – in the production of heat, electricity, and fuels for transport.
Bioenergy has a vital role to play as part of Australia’s clean energy future.