Biomass for Energy — Fuels Now and in the Future

  • D. O. Hall
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 67)


Today about 14 percent of the world’s primary energy is derived from biomass, equivalent to 20 m barrels of oil per day. Predominant use is in the rural areas of developing countries where half of the world’s population lives. For example, Kenya derives three-fourths, India one-half, China one-third, and Brazil one-quarter of their total energy from biomass. A number of developed countries also derive a considerable amount of energy from biomass, e.g. Sweden nine percent and the U.S.A. three percent. Worldwide expenditure on biomass programmes is over two billion dollars per year. However, let me start by indicating what I am not going to advocate. I do not suggest that biomass will solve the energy problems of the world. I am not going to propose cutting down all the trees in the world or to reforest the world; and I am not advocating that we all become vegetarians. What I hope to clarify is that biomass already contributes a significant part of the world’s energy; it is an important provider of energy to very many people. But how much biomass will contribute in the future will depend very much on decisions that are made both at the local level and at the national level, in addition to international policy making. Decisions that are made over the next few years will significantly influence the level of biomass energy use in the future.


Anaerobic Digestion Photosynthetic Efficiency Water Hyacinth Octane Number Biomass Energy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. O. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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