China's bioenergy potential

TAO SANG, WEIXING ZHU
2011 GCB Bioenergy  
Despite great enthusiasm about developing renewable energy in China, the country's bioenergy potential remains unclear. Traditional utilization of bioenergy through primarily household combustion of crop residue and fuelwood is still a predominant energy source for rural China. More efficient utilization of $ 300 million tons of crop residues for bioelectricity generation could add a couple of percent of renewable energy to China's total energy production. With o9% of the world's arable land
more » ... ld's arable land supporting $ 20% of the world's population, China is already a net grain importer and has little extra farmland for producing a significantly additional amount of biofuels from first-generation energy crops, such as maize, sugarcane, and soybean. Second-generation energy crops hold the greatest potential for bioenergy development worldwide. Miscanthus, a native perennial C4 grass that produces high biomass across almost the entire climatic zone of China, is the most promising second-generation energy crop to domesticate and cultivate. A reasonable near-term goal is to produce 1 billion tons of Miscanthus biomass annually from $ 100 million hectares of marginal and degraded land concentrated in northern and northwestern China. This can generate $ 1458 TW h electricity and mitigate $ 1.7 billion tons of CO 2 emission from power coal, which account for $ 45% of China's electricity output and $ 28% of CO 2 emission in 2007. Furthermore, growing perennial grasses on marginal and degraded land will contribute to the ongoing efforts in China to restore vast areas of land under serious threat of desertification. With this potential taken into account, bioenergy can play a major role in meeting China's rapidly growing energy demand while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emission.
doi:10.1111/j.1757-1707.2010.01064.x fatcat:n5gwiwfhwjccvpiik4awntuh5y