Leopoldina Issues Critical Statement on the Use of Energy from Biomass

In a statement on the chances and limits of using bioenergy, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has come to the conclusion that in quantitative terms energy from biomass currently plays, and will in future play, only a minor role in the transition to renewables.

Since 2008 the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina is the German National Academy of Sciences. It aims to address key issues of particular significance for the future of society from a scientific perspective and independently of economic or political interests.

In its latest study from 26 July 2012 Leopoldina sees the use of energy from biomass critically and recommended to give bio-energy no important role in the transition to renewable age. Because bio-energy requires more surface area, is associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions and is more harmful to the environment than other renewable sources such as photovoltaic, solar thermal energy and wind energy. In addition, energy crops potentially compete with food crops.

Despite this study government and opposition politicians want to retain the use of bio-energy. “Biomass is a very versatile and reliable energy source and will play an important role for the future energy supply of Germany,” said Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier. Even the Green Party leader Cem Ozdemir said biomass could “make an important contribution to the energy revolution.”

Sources: FAZ, Focus

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