The green bond market is expected to increase to 300 bn US$ in 2018 according to Reuters and Climate Bonds Initiative.
Biomass investment ranks third (at USD 6 billion) after wind and solar. Although 75% of this was attributed to developed countries, the majority being based in Europe, developing countries like India, China and Brazil have also been active in this sector.
Highest Investment Returns
According to the study, “the biomass plants provide higher investment returns than other sources of renewable energy and with a greater production reliability”. The study shows that the availability of funding for renewables is recovering worldwide. Most of the debt-buyers in the survey indicated their intention to increase their investments in the next 18 months.
With the right project structure and the right developer, bioenergy projects are an attractive investment for funders. The changes in the clean energy market combined with the governments’ push to not only make the world carbon neutral, but also a hub for green finance; this could be exactly the impetus that bioenergy needs to grow its market share.
Large inventories of waste timber and other waste material can be found in many areas in developing countries. When significant volumes of combustible waste material accumulate near current or potentially large harvests of fast-growing “bioenergy crops,” the fuel stock supply – the most fundamental ingredient for commercial biomass energy – maximizes the economic feasibility of a bioenergy power project.
Biomass power plants
Biomass power plants are usually 10 to 40 MW in size which is much smaller than coal power plants at 500 to 2.000 MW. Most of the world’s biomass power plants use direct combustion to produce renewable and low carbon electricity. Existing coal power plants can be readily converted to replace up to 20% of their coal with biomass fuels; however, their current boiler technology cannot accommodate 100% biomass.
Biomass electricity offers a realistic and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Biomass electricity provides steady, reliable base power like fossil fuels. Biomass electricity complements solar and wind which provide fluctuating electricity and require fast reacting backup power to compensate for their fluctuations.
Direct combustion (or “direct-fired”) systems burn biomass in boilers to produce high pressure steam. The steam turns a turbine connected to a generator-the same kind of steam-electric generator used in fossil fuel power plants. As the turbine rotates, the generator turns, and electricity is produced. This is the simplest and oldest method of generating electricity from biomass.
Today, biomass electricity is generated using agricultural and forestry residue such as wood pellets from sawdust and wood bark, sugarcane bagasse, which is the left over fibres after the juice is squeezed out of the cane, corn stover, wheat straw, and rice husk and many other agricultural residues such as olive.
Europe has mandated that coal-fired power plants reduce their carbon emissions and many are replacing. To assure that their power plants have a constant and steady supply of biomass, energy companies establish near the source of the residues. The long-term success of a biomass energy facility depends on having a secure long-term source of the biomass.
Biomass Fuel Alternatives: Dedicated Energy Crops Compared to Wood and Agricultural Waste
We are currently developing projects in some countries with selected energy crops. The fast growing crops will serve us to maintain reliable and cost efficient biomass fuel.
The primary requirements that a biomass crop must satisfy to be considered a viable source of green energy are:
- No conflict with food-crop acreage or food-supply chain
- Scalability to meet demand for large amounts of electrical energy
- Continuity of supply with consistent quality
- Low and predictable cost for the 20+ year life of a biomass power plant or biofuel refinery