Find out how organic matter is used to generate clean electricity and carbon neutral gas.

Bioenergy refers to electricity and gas that is generated from organic matter, known as biomass. This can be anything from plants and timber to agricultural and food waste – and even sewage.

The term bioenergy also covers transport fuels produced from organic matter. But on this page, we’re just focusing on how it’s used to generate electricity and carbon neutral gas.

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Bioenergy Resources and Technologies

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines bioenergy as all energy derived from biofuels, which are fuels derived from biomass (that is, matter of biological origin). These biofuels can be subdivided into three types, solid, liquid, and gas and by origin, forest, agriculture, and municipal waste.

In the past decade, bioenergy has seen an uptick in interest from the international community. While instability in oil regions has been one factor in the shift towards renewable energy resources, other factors such as demand for self-supply energy commodities, increase in energy security, stimulate rural development, reduce the impact of energy use on climate change, and provide a clean more environmentally friendly energy source have played a large role in the promotion of bioenergy resource development.

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Bioenergy Sources - PDF

This bioenergy education curriculum was created through Ohio’s 4-H Cloverbud program and the Ohio
BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) to inform and educate future consumers and supporters of bio-based
energy and its products. The curriculum was developed with support from the Northeast Regional Sun
Grant Initiative, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation: US DOT Assistance #DTOS59-

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Great Bioenergy Resource

Bioenergy use falls into two main categories: “traditional” and “modern”. Traditional use refers to the combustion of biomass in such forms as wood, animal waste and traditional charcoal. Modern bioenergy technologies include liquid biofuels produced from bagasse and other plants; bio-refineries; biogas produced through anaerobic digestion of residues; wood pellet heating systems; and other technologies.

About three-quarters of the world’s renewable energy use involves bioenergy, with more than half of that consisting of traditional biomass use. Bioenergy accounted for about 10% of total final energy consumption and 1.9% of global power generation in 2015.

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Alaska is the largest state in the Nation, spanning a land area of around 580,000 square miles, almost one-fifth the size of the combined lower 48 United States. Its geographic location makes the United States one of eight Arctic nations. The State has an abundance of natural resources and is highly dependent on oil, mining, fishing, and tourism revenues. Changes in climate can have positive and negative impacts on these resources.

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Sustainability - EPA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the Biden-Harris Administration through the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity, with projects from the second funding pool to be announced later this year. Ultimately, USDA’s anticipated investment will triple to more than $3 billion in pilots that will create market opportunities for American commodities produced using climate-smart production practices. These initial projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers. Applicants submitted more than 450 project proposals in this first funding pool, and the strength of the projects identified led USDA to increase its investment in this opportunity from the initial $1 billion Vilsack announced earlier this year.

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Biofuel demand forecast to increase 28% over the next 5 years

Following a historic decline in 2020 amid global transport disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, total biofuel demand is on course to surpass 2019 levels in 2021. In our main case, annual global demand for biofuels is set to grow by 28% by 2026, reaching 186 billion litres. The United States leads in volume increases, but much of this growth is a rebound from the drop caused by the pandemic. Asia accounts for almost 30% of new production over the forecast period, overtaking European biofuel production by 2026. This is thanks to strong domestic policies, growing liquid fuel demand and export-driven production. Recent Indian ethanol policies and blending targets for biodiesel in Indonesia and Malaysia are responsible for most of the growth in Asia. India is set to become the third largest market for ethanol demand worldwide by 2026.

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NREL Selected for Space-Bound Research To Solve the Plastic Waste Dilemma

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will send an engineered bacteria into space as early as next year as part of ongoing research into solving the problem of plastic waste mitigation on Earth.

Deconstructed plastics, using the NREL oxidation platform, will be flown to the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts will conduct an experiment involving bacteria engineered to upcycle oxidized plastic. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) selected the NREL project as part of the ISS National Laboratory Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics. The beauty brand Estée Lauder is providing financial backing for the challenge, with costs going to ISS National Laboratory partner Rhodium Scientific to provide engineering and flight support.

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