The tug of war continues between the world’s growing demand for energy and the increasingly urgent need for that energy to be clean and renewable. The struggle was played out at the 15th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. World leaders converged in Copenhagen to seek agreement on greenhouse gas emissions that balance the priorities of countries around the world. Inbicon’s CEO Niels Henriksen was onstage, participating in a panel discussion, and the Inbicon Biomass Refinery at Kalundborg was part of the energy tour for conference participants.
In the wake of COP 15, we see some kind of carbon-cap agreements coming that will affect how the energy is produced by major energy consumers: United States, China, Russia, Japan, India, European Union, Brazil, etc. This translates into a significant opportunity for Inbicon Biomass Refineries, particularly strong in countries heavily dependent on coal for electricity generation. Energy exchange with an Inbicon Biomass Refinery can double operating efficiency for many power plants and let them produce more green energy in the bargain.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, world marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 44 percent from 2006 to 2030. The projections were adjusted in 2009 in light of the worldwide economic downturn and consequent lower energy demand. More robust growth (73 percent) will occur among less mature (non-OECD) economies, compared to 15% in the developed (OECD) countries. Liquids, coal, natural gas, renewables, and nuclear (in order of magnitude) will all continue to grow in use.
In the United States, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set a Renewable Fuels Standard and a schedule requiring accelerated use of biofuels, from 9 billion US gallons of biofuel in 2008 (a nearly 40 percent increase from 2007 production) to 36 billion gallons in 2022. Of that, 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic ethanol.
As the U.S. climbs out of its Great Recession, perhaps the most significant indicator for Inbicon is that liquid fuel growth is expected to come almost entirely from an increase in biofuels consumption.
As world population rises on most every continent, many influential factors converge to favour the switch from petroleum-based fuels to biofuels. For example, increasing public awareness of the need to control emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, new government legislation and regulations, public demand for energy independence, and the increasing practicality of biofuels.
World population expansion also puts a premium on agriculture, on extracting as much food value as possible from each tillable acre, which favors augmenting current grain-fed ethanol production with biomass-to-ethanol conversion.
Scientists have long known it was possible to convert waste to fuel. In the next decade Inbicon will demonstrate that it’s also practical.