Bio-Energy Use and Low Stabilization Scenarios

Research has shown that extensive use of bio-energy could be a crucial factor in achieving stabilization at low atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration levels. First, bio-energy may play a key role in reducing emissions from the transport sector. Second, bio-energy may be used as feedstock to produce electric power, heat and hydrogen. The large-scale use of bio-energy is, however, controversial.

This paper explores the potential for bio-energy production, and the implications of different values for the attainability of low stabilization targets. The impact of scenarios of future land use, yield improvements for bio-energy and available land under different sustainability assumptions (protection of biodiversity, risks of water scarcity and land degradation) are explored. Typical values for sustainable potential of bio-energy production are around 50-150 EJ in 2050 and 200-400 EJ in 2100. Higher bio-energy potential requires a development path with high agricultural yields, dietary patterns with low meat consumption, a low population and/or accepting high conversion rates of natural areas. Scenario analysis using four different models shows that low stabilization levels may be achieved with a bio-energy potential of around 200 EJ p.a. In such scenarios, bio-energy is in most models mainly used outside the transport sector.


PBL Authors
Detlef van Vuuren Morna Isaac
Other authors
Elie Bellevrat (University of Grenoble)
Alban Kitous (EnerData, Grenoble)


Publication title
Bio-Energy Use and Low Stabilization Scenarios
Publication date
15 June 2010
Publication type
Page count
Publication language
The Energy Journal
Volume 31 (Special Issue 1)
Product number