Bioenergy a sustainable and reliable energy source: a review of status and prospects

The supply of sustainable energy is one of the main challenges that mankind will face over the coming decades, particularly because of the need to address climate change. Biomass can make a substantial contribution to supplying future energy demand in a sustainable way. It is presently the largest global contributor of renewable energy, and has significant potential to expand in the production of heat, electricity, and fuels for transport. Further deployment of bioenergy, if carefully managed, could provide: an even larger contribution to global primary energy supply; significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially other environmental benefits; improvements in energy security and trade balances, by substituting imported fossil fuels with domestic biomass; opportunities for economic and social development in rural communities; and scope for using wastes and residues, reducing waste disposal problems, and making better use of resources. This review provides an overview of the potential for bioenergy and the challenges associated with its increased deployment. It discusses opportunities and risks in relation to resources, technologies, practices, markets and policy. The aim is to provide insights into the opportunities and required actions for the development of a sustainable bioenergy industry.