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Biomass-based electricity to grow worldwide

The worldwide production of electricity derived from biomass will increase by approximately 8,000MW until 2015. These are the findings of a study by ecoprog and Fraunhofer.

The construction of biomass-fired power plants is continuing to grow, mainly due to the increasing number of feed-in tariffs available for biomass-based electricity. The high cost of fossil fuels and the introduction of CO2 certificates have also played a part in this thriving market. Today around 2,000 biomass power plants generating approximately 22.5GW are operational in more than 40 countries.

The largest market for electricity produced from biomass is Europe. Over 1,000 biomass plants are operational here, 800 of which have come online in the last five years. By 2015, a further 9,000 biomass plants will be built, with investment in the sector increasing from €12.2 billion a year to €15.5 billion.

This is due to its large quantities of wood available, particularly in the Scandinavian countries of Finland and Sweden. Germany is also home to a large number of biomass plants, but these are generally very small-scale.

A large percentage of biomass plants located outside of Europe are based in Brazil, China and India. China and India subsidise electricity from biomass, while in Brazil, about 400 ethanol factories utilise sugarcane bagasse for the production of electricity. A small number of large-scale biomass plants exist in the US and Canada.

However, within the next five years Asia will overtake Europe as the world leader in biomass energy, according to the report. Yet, European-based biomass plants will continue to generate the more capital.