In quantitative terms, bioenergy plays a minor role in the transition to renewable, sustainable energy sources in Germany at the present time and probably in the future. This is the conclusion of the statement “Bioenergy – Chances and Limits” of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
Bioenergy requires more surface area, is associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions and is more harmful to the environment than other renewable sources such as photovoltaic, solar thermal energy, and wind energy. And energy crops potentially compete with food crops.
The report provides recommendations for using bioenergy, defined as energy obtained from burning of non-fossil plant biomass or biofuels derived primarily from biomass. It also recommends finding strategies for saving energy and increasing energy efficiency.
The statement was compiled by a working group of more than 20 expert scientists established in 2010 and coordinated by Professors Bärbel Friedrich, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Bernhard Schink, University of Constance, Professor Rudolf K. Thauer, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg.
- Bioenergy – Chances and Limits, Leopoldina, Halle, Germany
The report is available as a short version in German and English and as detailed English version, in which the statements are supported by scientific documentation.