A Bioenergy Research Prospectus for Southern Africa

Thornley, P. et al.

Biomass is widely used across the Southern African Development Community, including in South Africa. A large proportion of the existing resource is used in relatively inefficient, small scale devices, including combustion of fuel wood for heating and cooking, although larger scale applications can be found in some regions. The land base and agricultural patterns in southern Africa could yield large quantities of biomass for more strategic use, but the size of the biomass resource that may be available in the future has not been robustly tested or demonstrated. It is important that the potential resource is quantified with due regard to environmental, social and economic sustainability constraints. Many relevant feedstocks have also not been well characterized to date. The physical characteristics, diversity and dispersed nature of the resource mean that significant levels of feedstock processing will be required, integrated with appropriate supply chain logistics.

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