The potential of forest-derived bioenergy to contribute to China's future energy and transportation fuel requirements

Li, L.; Karatzos, S.; Saddler, J.

Forestry Chronicle 88(5): 547-552

2012


ISSN/ISBN: 0015-7546
DOI: 10.5558/tfc2012-104
Accession: 066266696

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Abstract
Increasing concerns of oil security, greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainability have encouraged nations to consider the contribution that agriculture/forestry for bioenergy (and biofuels in particular) could make as alternatives to current fossil-based energy and transportation fuels. Despite China's large population and geographical size, it has only relatively recently developed into a highly industrialized and energy-dependent economy. Coal is, and will remain, China's dominant energy source. However, over the last few years with China's growing middle class, increasing growth in production and sale of cars/trucks and a growing chemical based sector, oil and its derivatives are predicted to experience the fastest fossil fuel growth. China's ability to produce so-called "first-generation" or conventional biofuels from sugar, starch, or vegetable oil based plants is very restricted because of "food vs. fuel" issues. Thus, biomass-based and forest-based biofuels, in particular, can form a medium-to-long-term solution that could contribute to China's national biofuels targets. Oilseed trees have been suggested as an initial forest-based biodiesel strategy with about 13 million ha of marginal land identified for possible plantation. It is also estimated that 17 million tonnes of cellulosic ethanol per annum could be derived from forest biomass that is currently available in China.