Sustainable bioenergy solutions to enable development in low- and middle-income countries beyond technology and energy access

Röder, M.; Mohr, A.; Liu, Y.

Bioenergy is the main renewable energy source and the main primary energy source in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). However, in many cases biomass use is unsustainable and inefficient, resulting in significant environmental and health risks. This short communication synthesises the key findings from 15 research articles published in the Special Issue “Development of modern bioenergy approaches in low- and middle-income countries” published in the journal Biomass & Bioenergy and highlights the overarching research and deployment challenges of bioenergy in a LMIC context. The research presented in the Special Issue shows the relevance of demand-driven and participatory approaches and understanding the technical, environmental, economic and social implications of bioenergy and the synergies with other sectors to enable the full potential of sustainable bioenergy. The findings also show the contribution modern bioenergy systems can make to energy access and human and economic development, underpinning several of the Sustainable Development Goals. While there is large agreement that bioenergy can provide environmental, economic and social co-benefits, research not always capture the full breadth of sustainability and often focuses at the most obvious environmental and economic benefits such as climate change, energy access, related economic development and sustainable production and innovation. Including less visible co-benefits in the evaluation of bioenergy systems would strengthen the analysis of non-monetary values and would support institutional and commercial decision making beyond renewable energy and energy access, underpinning the overarching concept of the SDGS of “leaving no one behind”.

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