Future primary energy production and consumption

The IEA has forecast future biomass energy consumption to 2030. The primary supply of biomass is calculated by adding the following three components:
1 Final end-use consumption of biomass
2 Biomass used for electricity and CHP generation
3 Losses in charcoal production, i.e. the difference between the energy content of the wood input and that of the charcoal output

Following the approach used for conventional fuels, biomass inputs in power generation, including CHP, have been analysed separately from end-use consumption. Total biomass demand is projected to rise from 1,202 Mtoe in 2009 to 1,375 Mtoe in 2015 and 1,662 Mtoe in 2030.

Charcoal is a secondary product, hence included in final energy consumption. However, primary energy consumption includes not charcoal, but the amount of wood used in charcoal production. For many countries this amount is not known, so assumptions have to be made on the efficiency of the charcoal transformation process.

Charcoal consumption in developing countries amounted to approximately 22 Mtoe, roughly equally divided between Africa, Asia and Latin America. Most charcoal use in Latin America is concentrated in Brazil (5 Mtoe), where it is produced in large, highly efficient modern kilns and used mainly in the production of steel. In Africa and Asia, charcoal is largely produced with traditional techniques, in small village kilns with low transformation efficiencies and used in the domestic sector, especially in urban areas. Thailand accounts for 65% of charcoal use in Asia and is one of the countries with the highest share of charcoal in biomass consumption in the world, at 39%. In China, charcoal use is virtually nonexistent because of the extensive use of coal briquettes.

Total final consumption of biomass in developing countries will continue to increase, rising from 825 Mtoe in 1995 to 1,071 Mtoe in 2020, although at a lower rate than population and a much lower rate than conventional energy use.

This rising trend is, broadly speaking, the result of two contrasting trends. On the one hand, the expected growth, in average per capita GDP is assumed to progressively lead to lower per capita biomass use as people, especially in urban areas, gradually switch to conventional fuels and biomass end-use efficiency slowly increases. On the other hand, the still significant rate of population growth means that an increasing number of people will use biomass, driving up total consumption. The growth rate of total biomass consumption is relatively low and is projected to be 1.4% per annum between 1980 and 2030.

There are significant regional differences in the growth rates and resulting shares. Consumption of biomass is expected to grow much faster in Africa with 2.4% per annum than in other regions; as a consequence of sluggish economic growth, rapidly increasing population and relatively low growth in conventional fuel consumption.