Bioeconomy, Energy Transformation and Climate Goals

Vegetable biomass directly (as food) or indirectly (as feed) serves our nutrition and contributes significantly to our lives through a whole range of ecosystem services (e.g. biodiversity, soil formation, recreation). Biomass can also be used for a variety of material uses. Be it in the form of "classical" applications, such as the use of wood as a building material, or in the form of comparatively new and innovative developments, such as platform chemicals and bioplastics. From the point of view of bioeconomics, biomass as the basic material of a biobased economy is of particular importance. (BMBF and BMEL 2014)

Biomass can also be converted into bioenergy and, through safe, clean, integrated and intelligent bioenergy use, can be an important building block for energy system transformation.

In the Paris Agreement of 2015, 197 countries decided to limit global warming to "well below" 2°C by the end of the century. By 1 July 2018, 189 states had already ratified this agreement, including all EU member states (UNFCCC 2020). In the Climate Protection Plan 2050, Germany reaffirmed its commitment to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 80 - 95 % compared with 1990 levels (BMUB 2016). In the majority of the IPCC scenarios (more information here), bioenergy plays an important role in achieving the climate targets:

  • What quantities can we use sustainably at all?
  • Where are the resources?
  • What contribution can biomass make towards energy system transformation (or towards the bioeconomy in general)?

In the course section "Biomass potentials" we would like to show you how these questions can be answered with the help of open (geo)data. In this script and the corresponding exercises we concentrate on questions concerning the availability of biomass for energetic utilisation. However, many of the methods described are also suitable for determining potentials for material uses. In order to work on the questions and interpret the results, you should acquire the basic knowledge described in this script.