Biomass energy has developed rapidly and has become an eye-catching new industry. Many countries are actively researching, developing and utilizing biomass energy. The research and development of biomass energy technology has become one of the world’s major hot topics. In response to the concern, the corresponding development and research plans have been formulated, and the biomass energy industry has been promoted as a national strategy.
Most of the foreign biomass energy technologies and devices have reached the level of commercial application and achieved large-scale industrial operations. Taking the United States, Sweden and Austria as examples, the conversion of biomass into high-quality energy has a considerable scale. They account for 4%, 16% and 10% of the country's primary energy consumption respectively.
The use of biomass resources for power generation has been valued by countries all over the world, and its related technologies have gradually matured. Biomass power generation first originated in the 1970s. At that time, after the global oil crisis broke out, Denmark began to actively develop clean renewable energy and vigorously promoted biomass power generation such as straw. Denmark, which has a land area of only a quarter of China's Shandong Province, has established 15 large-scale biomass direct-fired power plants, which consume about 1.5 million tons of agricultural and forestry waste annually and provide 5% of Denmark's electricity supply. The straw burning generator set developed by Danish BWE has been put into operation for many years in Denmark, Spain, Sweden, France and other countries. This technology has a larger capacity and higher thermal efficiency.
Agriculture and forestry biomass power generation is mainly concentrated in developed countries, but developing countries such as India, Brazil, and Southeast Asia are also actively developing or introducing technologies to build agricultural and forestry biomass power generation projects. The development and utilization of biomass energy occupies a considerable proportion in Japan’s Sunshine Project and India’s Green Energy Project.
The world's bioethanol production has increased substantially in recent years, from 29.4 billion liters in 2000 to 51.3 billion liters in 2006, an increase of 74.5%. The United States and Brazil are the two largest bioethanol producers in the world. In 2006, the ethanol output of the United States and Brazil was 19.85 billion L and 17.82 billion L, respectively. The ethanol output of the two countries accounted for 73.4% of the world's total output. The main producing countries in Asia are China and India. The total production of bioethanol in Asia in 2006 was 6.43 billion liters. It accounts for 12.53% of the world's total output. Among them, China is 3.55 billion liters and India is 1.65 billion liters. France and Germany occupy a major position in the EU ethanol industry. In 2006, the EU’s total production of bioethanol was 3.44 billion liters, accounting for 6.7% of the world’s total production. Among them, France was 950 million liters and Germany was 760 million liters.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated in a report (FAO, 2007) issued in December 2007 that the output of the world’s major ethanol producing countries will increase significantly in 2007: among them, the United States will increase from nearly 19.85 billion liters in 2006. To 26 billion liters in 2007, an increase of 30%; Brazil increased from 17.82 billion liters to 20 billion liters, an increase of 12%; the EU increased from 3.44 billion liters to 5.7 billion liters, an increase of 66.9%; China increased from 3.55 billion liters to 37 Billion liters, an increase of 4%; India grew from 1.65 billion liters to 2.3 billion liters, an increase of 39%.
In 2006, the International Energy Agency (IEA) pointed out in the "World Energy Outlook2006" report: In 2005, the world's total biodiesel production was 3.6 million tons, of which the European Union accounted for 87%, the United States accounted for 7.6%, and Brazil accounted for 1.7%. Compared with the production scale of the world ethanol industry, the current world biodiesel production scale is relatively small. However, with the implementation of biofuel development plans in the United States, the European Union, Brazil and other countries and regions, the world's biodiesel industry has entered a period of rapid development. In 2006, the world's biodiesel production reached 7.1 million tons, an increase of 97.22% over 2005; in 2007, the world's biodiesel production reached 9 million tons (USDA, 2008), an increase of 26.8% over 2006.
The biofuels produced by most countries in the world are confined to their own domestic consumption, and the export trade volume is relatively small. However, in recent years, the trade volume of bioethanol in the world market has shown a steady increase. In 2002, the world's bioethanol trade volume was 3.2 billion liters, which rose to 5.9 billion liters in 2005, and further increased to 7.814 billion liters in 2006, an increase of 32.44% compared to 2005. From 2005 to 2006, from the perspective of global bioethanol trade status, the share of South America and North America in world ethanol exports remained at 60%; the Asia-Pacific region increased from 7% in 2005 to 17%; Europe was less than 20% ; Africa is 4%.
The United States is the world's largest producer and user of biofuels. In the year of 2000, the production of bioethanol in the United States was only 6 billion tons; in 2006, the production of bioethanol in the United States increased to 19.9 billion liters, an increase of 162%; by 2007, the production of bioethanol in the United States reached 300 Billion tons, an increase of 5 times in just 8 years. The main raw material for bioethanol production in the United States is corn, and the main raw material for biodiesel production is soybeans. At present, the United States is the largest country in the world using corn to produce bioethanol. The United States has also proposed the "2525" and "3030" biomass energy development plans, which means that by 2025, 25% of the US gasoline will use bioethanol. Instead, by 2030, 30% of gasoline will be replaced with bioethanol. By that time, the production of bioethanol in the United States will reach 227.1 billion liters. The "Crop Prospects and Food Situation" report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FA0) in February 2008 predicted that there will be approximately 95 million tons of corn used in the production of bioethanol in 2007/08, of which 81 million tons will be used in the United States.
Compared with the ethanol industry, the US biodiesel industry has a shorter development history and a relatively small production scale. The United States began to develop the biodiesel industry in the early 1990s. Since the 21st century. The US federal government, Congress, and relevant state governments have adopted decree bills, subsidies and other support measures to encourage the production and consumption of biodiesel, which has enabled the rapid development of the biodiesel industry. As of April 2005, there are 60 biodiesel production plants in the United States, including the plants to be built. It is estimated that by 2011, the production of biodiesel in the United States will reach 1.15 million tons, and in 2016 it will reach 3.3 million tons.
The total installed capacity of biomass power generation in the United States exceeds 10,000 MW, and the stand-alone capacity is 10-25 MW. There are more than 350 biomass power plants in the United States, mainly distributed in pulp, paper product processing plants and other forest product processing plants. Most of the factories are located in the suburbs and provide approximately 66,000 jobs. The Statten Garbage Treatment Station in New York, USA, invested 20 million U.S. dollars to treat garbage using wet methods, recover biogas, use it for power generation, and produce fertilizer at the same time. The United States has developed a technology to use cellulose waste to produce alcohol and established a 1 MW rice husk power generation demonstration project with an annual output of 2500 tons of alcohol.
The biofuel industry has become a new economic growth point in the United States. This new industry contributed US$17.7 billion to US GDP, created 150,000 jobs, and increased US household income by US$5.7 billion. Therefore, biomass fuel has become a hot spot for investment in the United States.
The main goals of the American modern bio-energy policy are: reduce dependence on oil imports; promote environmental sustainability and economic development; create new employment opportunities for the rural economy; develop new industries and new technologies; and form a diversified energy supply.
Brazil is the first country in the world to produce bioethanol, and it has a history of more than 80 years. As of 2004, Brazil's annual ethanol output has always ranked first in the world. At present, Brazil is the world's largest ethanol producer and user second only to the United States. From 2000 to 2006, the production of bioethanol in Brazil increased from 10.6 billion liters to 17.8 billion liters, an increase of 68%. In 2006, Brazil's bioethanol production accounted for 34.7% of the world's total production.
Brazil is also the most distinctive country in the development and application of ethanol fuel. Brazil mainly uses sugarcane to produce bioethanol, and uses raw materials such as castor and soybeans to produce biodiesel. Brazil has implemented the world's largest ethanol development plan, and ethanol currently accounts for more than 50% of the country's automobile fuel consumption. At present, the bioethanol industry still occupies a leading position in Brazil's biofuel industry, and biodiesel accounts for a relatively small share. However, Brazil's bioethanol and biodiesel industries have developed greatly in recent years.
As of 2005, Brazil had built 320 sugarcane processing ethanol plants, with a total capacity of processing sugarcane exceeding 430 million tons per year, producing 30 million tons of sucrose, and producing 18 billion liters of ethanol. In 2005, Brazil’s bioethanol production reached 12.5 million tons. 70% of cars use gasoline mixed with bioethanol, about 19 million vehicles. Brazil plans to produce 72 million tons of bioethanol by 2025, with a long-term plan of 320 million tons.
With regard to the world biofuel market, Brazil advocates the formulation and adoption of international standards for bioenergy systems to promote the establishment of a global bioenergy market, thereby promoting the export of domestic fuel ethanol. In the South American biofuel market, Brazil has signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of bioenergy with South American countries to promote cooperation among countries in the region in the bioenergy industry, and promote the production, circulation and sales of ethanol and biodiesel in South American countries in the industrial chain, etc. In order to achieve integration, to ensure that the biofuels in South America have a competitive advantage in the international market.
Due to the continuous increase in international crude oil prices and the fulfillment of greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU has vigorously developed the biofuel (especially biodiesel) industry in the past 10 years. In 2005, the EU’s total biofuel production was 3.9 million tons. Biodiesel is the most important biofuel in the European Union. Since 2000, EU biodiesel production has grown rapidly at an annual rate of 28.2%. Germany has maintained its position as the world's number one biodiesel production. In 2006, Germany's biodiesel production accounted for 52.4% of the EU's total production of biodiesel. The main raw material for biodiesel production in the EU is rapeseed, which accounts for about 80% of the total biodiesel raw materials. Other raw materials include sunflower oil and soybean oil; the main raw materials for the production of EU bioethanol are sugar beet and wheat.
In EU transportation, the use of bioethanol accounts for 18.5% of the EU's total transportation fuel consumption. Compared with the biodiesel industry, the development scale of the bioethanol industry in EU countries is relatively lagging. Therefore, the bioethanol consumed by the EU cannot be self-sufficient, and the number of EU bioethanol imports has been increasing in recent years. It is against this background that the EU has put forward development goals and plans for the next few years.