U.S. Biomass Energy - Statistics & Facts

U.S. Biomass Energy - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and Facts about the U.S. Biomass Energy Industry

In 2013, approximately 4.6 quadrillion British thermal units of energy derived from biomass were consumed in the United States. U.S. biomass energy production is expected to grow to 5.6 quadrillion British thermal units in 2040. With 2013 retail gasoline prices peaking at around 3.50 U.S. dollars per gallon, biofuels have increasingly gained importance as a transport fuel. In 2011, U.S. biofuel production grew to about 29 million metric tons of oil equivalent, up from about three million metric tons in 2000. The global market for biofuels was sized at just under 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, with its value projected to grow to just under 180 billion U.S. dollars by 2022.

Not only is biomass a good alternative to petroleum-based products, but it is also an important contributor to the nation’s power supply. Net electricity generation of wood and wood-derived fuels came to a little under 40 gigawatt hours in 2013, making it the second largest non-hydroelectric renewable energy source after wind.

Over recent years, governments across the world have realized the importance of alternative sources of energy, as traditional means such as coal and oil are becoming increasingly rare and expensive. As a result, there has been a massive spike in investment in biofuel technologies between 2006 and 2009. Furthermore, the production of renewable fuels as a whole has seen a great increase, with a projected 36 billion gallons being produced in 2022, up from just 9 billion gallons in 2008. Biomass is seen as one of the most promising sources of energy for the future as it produces comparatively fewer harmful carbon dioxide emissions, and it is both abundant and renewable, thus reducing the world's dependency on fossil fuels. However, biomass still produces harmful methane gases and is currently more expensive and inefficient in comparison to fossil fuels.

Photo: istockphoto.com / ma-k

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