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Global biomass capacity may reach 82 GW by 2020

May 31, 2013 - According to a new report from Navigant Research, global biopower capacity will grow gradually over the next few years, from 58.6 gigawatts in 2013 to 82 gigawatts in 2020, under a conservative forecast scenario.


May 31, 2013
By Jayson Koblun

Under a more aggressive
scenario, installed capacity could reach 128.5 gigawatts in 2020. The aggressive forecast scenario assumes an accelerated rate of
biopower installations across all regions, driven by factors including
expanding trade flows in densified biomass, a surge in biomass integration
across coal-burning power plants, and faster rates of integrated biorefinery
infrastructure expansion, as well as other industrial cogeneration
opportunities.

"While biomass feedstocks
are available worldwide, the challenges associated with its collection,
aggregation, transportation, and handling, make the commercial generation of
electricity from biomass viable in only a narrow set of circumstances," says
Mackinnon Lawrence, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "The
global biopower market faces a number of conflicting signals, and the use of
biomass as a source of commercial power – despite incorporating proven
technologies – still entails financing risk, limiting its expansion in
comparison to other renewables."

Although the future of
dedicated biopower facilities remains uncertain, biopower can also optimize existing
industrial processes. The use of biomass is improving the efficiency and
profitability of facilities as a fuel for combined heat and power
installations, reducing coal emissions through co-firing, and providing onsite
generation for industrial facilities like biorefineries.

Navigant Research's report
says the growth outlook for these applications remains positive.

The report, Market Data: Biomass Power Generation,
provides capacity and revenue forecasts, market sizing, and market share
analysis for electricity production from biomass, covering dedicated/co-fired,
anaerobic digestion, and biorefinery facilities.


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