It is estimated that biomass covers currently up to 15% of the world energy demand, almost 1/3 of all energy consumption in the Less-Developed Countries. This rate was over the last years rather constant, with increasing overall demand bioenergy consumption increased in absolute terms.

Table 1 : World Energy Consumption pattern 1997 (ref 1)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />








9.6 Bio TOE

1-1.5 Bio TOE




2.3 Bio TOE

0.6-0.8 Bio TOE




0.4 Bio TOE

0.2-0.27 Bio TOE



Lat. America

0.4 Bio TOE



Table 1 makes it clear that the proportion of bioenergy is particularly high in Africa. In most sub-saharan countries biomass counts for over 80% of all energy needs. As it is mostly used for cooking, fuelwood is almost exclusively used. A large biomass resource of straw and agricultural residues remains untapped.

    Biomass has a role to play in the current attempt to save the world’s climate and to find ways and means to implement the “Kyoto agreement”. The prospect that developing countries are going to increase substantially their greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions sidelining current biomass consumption, is part of an intense bargaining between donor nations and LDC’s today.

Table 4 : Future Trends (Business as Usual) Population Growth (in Billion People)

    1990     2020

World   5.2    7.9   

EU    0.36 0.38

DCs 4   6.4


Table 5 : Future Trends (Business as Usual) Primary Energy Demand (in Billion TOE)

    1990     2020   

EU    1.3    1.6

DCs 2.5    7.3

Table 4 : Summarises the population growth scenarios. The energy consumption growth is shown in Table 5[4].

Highest growth rates are expected in Asia and Latin America. By 2020 the proportion of people living in cities in the LDC’s are expected to double. Accordingly, energy consumption in the cities will grow over proportionally. In the Sahel, cities and towns will see their energy quadruplicating over the next 20 years while it will grow by a “mere” 50% in the village.

    Resource wise these “business-as-usual” projections over the next 20 years look straightforward and normal. Even for a tight situation like in Sahel the biomass resource required in such conventional scenarios will be available.