Researchers explore bioenergy utilization in China

Jul 03, 2012

With China the largest growing economy in the world, scientists and policymakers alike are keenly interested in the country's increasing use of biomass – instead of polluting and climate-harming fossil fuels – for energy generation. Although bioenergy consumption has more than doubled from 2005 to 2010, few studies have evaluated exactly where, in the vast country, this shift is taking place and through what means.

In a new paper, Shiyan Chang, an assistant professor of system analysis at Beijing's Tsinghua University, and graduate student Lili Zhao examine changes in the geographical distribution of bioenergy utilization in China, like biogas and biomass power generation, and biomass resources, like livestock and poultry excrement, agricultural residues, and municipal waste. The paper appears in a special issue of the American Institute of Physics' Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) that focuses on emerging energy trends in China.

The researchers used a metric known as the Gini coefficient, commonly used in fields such as sociology and economics to compare inequalities in income or wealth among groups. They found that the Gini coefficient of household biogas continually decreased from 1999 to 2010 – suggesting more widespread dispersion of the energy source – and the coefficient of on-grid biomass power generation decreased sharply from 2007 to September 2010. The study also showed that municipal solid waste was the most widely dispersed form of biomass and that, with the exception of household biogas, which is used mainly in southwestern Chinese provinces, most bioenergy use occurs in the eastern part of the country.

Over the study period, Chang says, "the spatial pattern of bioenergy in China has been significantly reshaped," with the differences among provinces "getting smaller and smaller." Crucial to this shift, she says, are government policies that promote the widespread technology adoption of biogas, and of biomass- and waste-power generation schemes.

One significant finding was that biomass resources remain more dispersed than bioenergy utilization, suggesting, Chang says, "that there is still great potential for bioenergy development in to efficiently use all kinds of biomass resources."

Explore further: ASU grant aims to transform global energy landscape

More information: "The pattern of bioenergy utilization in China: a spatial difference analysis", Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Miscanthus adapts

Jun 06, 2011

An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy finds that natural populations of Miscanthus are promising candidates as second-generation energy sources because they have genetic variation that may in ...

Report suggests biomass energy won't harm food production

Dec 02, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Biomass could cover 20% of the global energy supply without harming production of food, a new report released in the United Kingdom says. Reviewing over 90 international studies, the report was produced by ...

Agave fuels global excitement as a bioenergy crop

Jan 26, 2011

Scientists found that in 14 independent studies, the yields of two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, soybean, sorghum, and wheat. Additionally, even more productive Agave ...

CO2 emissions from biomass combustion

Mar 16, 2011

An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy proposes a new method to account for CO2 emissions from biomass combustion in bioenergy systems.

Sunn hemp shows promise as biofuel source

Jan 04, 2012

Work by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that farmers in the Southeast could use the tropical legume sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea) in their crop rotations by harvesting the ...

Recommended for you

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

41 minutes ago

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, ...

UK wind power share shows record rise

3 hours ago

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power ...

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

7 hours ago

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce ...

User comments : 0