Market assessment and toolkit to advance bioenergy development in Africa

Röder, M.; Chong, K.; Thornley, P.

The Bioenergy for Sustainable Local Energy Services and Energy Access in Africa – Phase 2 (BSEAA 2) project involving Mirjam Roeder, Katie Chong and Patricia Thornley from Aston University, has published detailed reports and toolkits, including a new mass-energy balance model from our Supergen Bioenergy Hub researchers. Read more about the project below.

Context

Sub-Saharan Africa has a huge variety of bioenergy feedstocks with an enormous potential to meet Africa’s burgeoning demand for modern energy services. Making more effective use of biomass-based energy can play an important role in improving energy access. Given that biomass feedstocks are closely related to agricultural practices and land use, suitably designed bioenergy investments have the potential to improve agricultural productivity, support agro-forestry, localise energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce deforestation, generate supply chain economic activities, deliver social benefits and empower poor communities.

However, commercial bioenergy development has been extremely fragmented with a track record of poor implementation in Africa. Key barriers to its commercial utilisation include:

  • biomass resource (high dispersal, poor supply infrastructure and high sourcing costs)
  • technology (insufficient understanding amongst local players of feedstock-technology fit and a lack of technologies tailored to African contexts)
  • economics and finance (inadequate or non-existent supply chains, high costs of pre-treatment and conversion, and insufficiently robust and tested business models)
  • unfavourable institutional and regulatory frameworks and inadequate understanding of interfaces between different supply chain stages and actors

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