Modern bioenergy technologies are key to meeting climate targets


Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) annual meetings review achievements in 2019 and make plans for the year ahead

Rome – More work on woody biomass for forest landscape restoration and sustainable livelihoods, and greater involvement of young people in the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) activities, were just two of the keys areas discussed when partners and observers met, 28-30 October 2019, at FAO headquarters in Rome, to decide on the 2020 GBEP programme of work.

“GBEP should make more of a systematised effort to involve young people in its activities…the upcoming GBEP Bioenergy Weeks represent a good opportunity for outreach,” confirmed Dr Maria Michela Morese, Executive Secretary of GBEP.

The set of meetings, that welcomed Nigeria as a new observer, included the 11th meeting of the Working Group on Capacity Building (WGCB), the 17th meeting of the Taskforce on Sustainability (TFS), and the 22nd meeting of the Steering Committee as well as a field visit to Agri Power Plus, a biogas plant in the region.

Promoting the wider production and use of modern bioenergy

The GBEP sustainability indicators, a technical science-based set of measurements and indicators were developed in 2011 by the Task Force on Sustainability to inform policy-makers and other stakeholders in countries seeking to develop their bioenergy sector to help meet their national sustainable development goals and climate commitments.

The Working Group on Capacity Building for Sustainable Bioenergy stated that in order to increase the use of bioenergy in countries, more policy-makers and stakeholders need training in how to use the GBEP sustainability indicators. At the Task Force on Sustainability meeting, Dr Morese, confirmed that work is ongoing to finalize and disseminate the Implementation Guide for the GBEP Sustainability Indicators before the end of 2019. This publication is a guide for policy-makers to help ensure that sustainable bioenergy is more widely adopted.

During the meeting, participants confirmed that the biogas stocktaking paper, including a regional analysis in Africa, Latin America and Asia, looking at the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion, would be finalized by the beginning of next year.

At the Steering Committee meeting, Alex Jones, Director of FAO’s Climate and Environment Division referred to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land;

“Integrated bioenergy solutions that allow for food, feed and energy production can be seen as a tool for both tackling global issues, and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.”

“Many of these bioenergy practices are also contributing to landscape restoration,” he added

To promote sustainable bioenergy development, FAO, in collaboration with partners, has developed the FAO Support Package to Decision-Making for Sustainable Bioenergy. GBEP plays an important role in assessing, evaluating and responding to the need for bioenergy in partner countries.

Circular economy in action – a model

Following the meetings, the field visit to the biogas plant, Agri Power Plus, established in 2011, presented the GBEP partners and observers with a concrete example of circular economy. They observed how a plant is able to use a range of feedstock from a 20 km radius (including bread, olive pomace and manure) to feed a biogas system.  The plant produces 8 million kWh/year that is sold to the Italian grid, and the residues become a rich fertilizer that can be used by local farmers.

During the electricity production process, the generator also produces hot water. This thermal energy is used to ensure the digester maintains an optimum temperature for production. Agri Power Plus then sells the remaining energy to the 70-hectare greenhouse complex located next to the plant. 

2020 Bioenergy Week hosted by African Union, will be held in Ethiopia and will focus on bioenergy in the African context.