This report complements earlier OECD work on liquid biofuels and provides information on biomass based heat and power, as well as on biogas. It discusses the heterogeneous portfolio of different biomass feedstocks, conversion technologies, and pathways of utilisation. It also shows that governments in many countries provide substantial support to the production and use of renewable energy in general, and bioenergy in particular; these support measures are highly diverse and are given at national and various sub-national levels.
The results of a large number of life-cycle analyses of various bioheat and biopower chains reviewed in this study indicate that the objective to reduce GHG emissions and fossil energy use is met; indeed the savings estimated for most chains are substantial when compared to fossil alternatives. At present, most of the chains examined do not compete with food and feed production, and thus the implications for agricultural markets are small. It is clear, however, that if a stronger focus on agricultural biomass crops is to be developed, this will require careful design of support policies so as to avoid compromising the ability of the agricultural sector to provide food and feed in a sustainable manner.