Bioenergy from wood waste

​Several types of renewable energy exist: solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, and bioenergy.

What is Bioenergy?

Bioenergy is energy derived from organic material (biomass). Bioenergy can be used for power generation (such as electricity) and heat applications in all energy sectors including domestic, commercial and industrial purposes, and in the production of liquid fuels for transport.

Currently Australia’s bioenergy use for generating heat and electricity is sourced mainly from bagasse (sugar cane residue), wood waste and the capture of gas from landfill and sewage facilities. The wood waste is from forest residues and wood related waste products from saw mill residue (woodchips and sawdust) and pulp mill residue (black liquor and wet wastes).

The government is aware that, to be beneficial to the environment and society, the production of biofuels and, critically, the feedstock used, must be sustainable. Using wood residues to produce bioenergy requires sustainable forest management to maintain environmental integrity. For this reason, the Australian and state and territory governments have put in place comprehensive frameworks to ensure that environmentally responsible forestry underpins the use of wood residues for bioenergy.

Bioenergy Australia is a government—industry forum to foster and facilitate the development of biomass for energy, liquid fuels, and other value added bio–based products. Bioenergy Australia is concerned with all aspects of biomass and bioenergy, from production through to utilisation and has a number of technical publications where additional information can be found.

The future

The Australian Government’s price on carbon will encourage the use of woody biomass as an energy source. The use of biomass for electricity generation or heat energy will not attract any liability under a carbon price. This means that generators that use biomass, including from wood wastes, will become more cost competitive relative to generators that use fossil fuels, which will be subject to the carbon price.

There is potential to expand Australia’s bioenergy sector to increase the use of wood residues from forest operations for electricity and heat generation and transport biofuel production.

Further information

ABARES and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism have information about renewable energy in Australia.