A new report, produced by the Technology and Policy Assessment function of the UK Energy Research Centre suggests that up to one fifth of global energy could be provided by biomass without damaging food production. However, there is disagreement. The report finds that the main reason scientists disagree is that they make different assumptions about population, diet, and land use. A particularly important bone of contention is the speed with which productivity improvements in food and energy crop production can be rolled out.
Dr Raphael Slade, the report’s lead author, says – if we make the best use of agricultural residues, energy crops and waste materials then getting one fifth of current global energy supply from biomass is a reasonable ambition. The report finds that getting more than this is technically possible but requires assumptions about food production and changes in diets that look increasingly challenging, especially as people in Asia and Latin America begin to adopt a high meat western diet as incomes rise.

NAFB News Service