Biomass can be used to produce renewable electricity, thermal energy, or transportation fuels (bio-fuels). A number of transportation fuels can be produced from biomass, helping to alleviate demand for petroleum products and improve the greenhouse gas emissions profile of the transportation sector. The energy stored in biomass can be released to produce renewable electricity or heat. Bio-power can be generated through combustion or gasification of dry biomass or bio gas (methane) captured through controlled anaerobic digestion.
Despite a number of challenges, in particular from low oil prices and policy uncertainty in some markets, bio-energy production continued to increase in 2016. Bio-energy development and deployment activities continued spreading into new regions and countries, noticeably in India, and some promising initial developments also were seen in Africa.
Bio-heat production grew slowly in 2016, although the use of bio-energy in industry has stabilized in recent years. Bio-power production has increased more quickly – by some 6% in 2016 – with rapid growth in the European Union (EU) and in Asia, where generation rose particularly sharply in the Republic of Korea.
Global ethanol production was stable, with record levels in the United States and sharp increases in China and India. The year also saw new initiatives in Africa, notably in Nigeria and South Africa. Global production of bio-diesel recovered after a fall in 2015, with particularly strong growth in Indonesia and Argentina.
Production of hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) increased 20% in 2016. Bio-methane use in transport also grew sharply, due largely to growth in the United States, stimulated by the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The year saw continuing progress in the commercialization and development of advanced bio-fuels, with expansion in the capacity and production of fuels by both thermal and biological routes and the announcement of new plants in China and India, widening the geographical range of such facilities.
Source: Renewables 2017 - REN21 (Renewable Energy Police Network for the 21st. Century)