Special Issue "Bioenergy in the BRICS Countries"

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A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Veli Pohjonen

University of Helsinki, Finland
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The BRICS countries, a group formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are the five newly industrialized and fast growing major emerging economies in the world. Presently, the BRICS countries represent almost three billion people with a combined nominal GDP of about USD 16 trillion. Together with the rising economic power, the BRICS countries also play an important role in the global energy arena. Among the group members, China is the second while India is the fourth biggest oil importing countries in the world; Russia is the world’s biggest oil and gas exporter; and Brazil is the second biggest ethanol producer in the world and also has a large hydropower sector. In recent years, the BRICS countries have made important strides to develop their domestic clean and green energy sectors including bioenergy and other renewable energy technologies by mobilizing huge investments. The current status of the modern bioenergy sector significantly differs within the BRICS countries, however. For example, a large number of people in China, India and South Africa depend on biomass for meeting their primary energy needs, though the modern biomass-based heat and power industry is yet to become fully functional in these countries. On the other hand, Brazil has an advanced biofuel industry based on sugarcane as a feedstock, while the Russian bioenergy sector has yet to gain momentum—even though the country has the largest forestry resources in the world. In this context, it demands special attention from researchers to assess the prospects of the modern bioenergy sector in the BRICS countries by taking into account all the possible opportunities and challenges (for example, policy, technology, environment, finance, and social) that can influence the development of a sustainable bioenergy sector in each of these countries. This Special Issue aims to bring researchers, policy makers and practitioners together from the BRICS countries and also from other countries, to explore all these issues and provide a forum to share their knowledge in the form of contributing high quality research papers that provide new directions towards developing a modern and sustainable bioenergy sector in the BRICS countries.

Dr. Veli Pohjonen
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Keywords

  • bioenergy
  • brics
  • challenges
  • opportunities

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Biomass Resource Assessment and Existing Biomass Use in the Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu States of India
Challenges 2015, 6(1), 158-172; doi:10.3390/challe6010158
Received: 13 March 2015 / Revised: 20 May 2015 / Accepted: 21 May 2015 / Published: 27 May 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
India is experiencing energy crisis and a widening gap between energy supply and demand. The country is, however, endowed with considerable, commercially and technically available renewable resources, from which surplus agro-biomass is of great importance and a relatively untapped resource. In the policy
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India is experiencing energy crisis and a widening gap between energy supply and demand. The country is, however, endowed with considerable, commercially and technically available renewable resources, from which surplus agro-biomass is of great importance and a relatively untapped resource. In the policy making process, knowledge of existing biomass use, degree of social reliance, and degree of biomass availability for energy production is unequivocal and pre-conditional. Field observations, documentation, and fill-in sheet tools were used to investigate the potential of biomass resources and the existing domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of biomass in selected Indian states. To do so, a team of field observers/supervisors visited three Indian states namely: Maharashtra (MH), Madhya Pradesh (MP), and Tamil Nadu (TN). Two districts from each state were selected to collect data regarding the use of biomass and the extent of biomass availability for energy production. In total, 471 farmers were interviewed, and approximately 75 farmers with various land holdings have been interviewed in each district. The existing uses of biomass have been documented in this survey study and the results show that the majority of biomass is used as fodder for domestic livestock followed by in-site ploughing, leaving trivial surplus quantities for other productive uses. Biomass for cooking appeared to be insignificant due to the availability and access to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders in the surveyed districts. Opportunities exist to utilize roadside-dumped biomass, in-site burnt biomass, and a share of biomass used for ploughing. The GIS-based maps show that biomass availability varies considerably across the Taluks of the surveyed districts, and is highly dependent on a number of enviromental and socio-cultural factors. Developing competitive bioenergy market and enhancing and promoting access to more LPG fuel connections seem an appropriate socio-economic and environmental approach to reduce the use of biomass for indoor cooking and increasing the share of surplus biomass for energy production.  Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy in the BRICS Countries)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives of Feedstock Supply for Biomass-Based Energy Plant Development in India: Views from an Expert Survey
Challenges 2015, 6(1), 71-87; doi:10.3390/challe6010071
Received: 2 February 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
PDF Full-text (95 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Utilization of renewable energy resources is imperative due to energy access, energy security, and energy sustainability coupled with the rising environmental concern. India is one of the largest land mass countries in the world and amply bestowed with biomass resources. Investigations on biomass
[...] Read more.
Utilization of renewable energy resources is imperative due to energy access, energy security, and energy sustainability coupled with the rising environmental concern. India is one of the largest land mass countries in the world and amply bestowed with biomass resources. Investigations on biomass supply potential, socio-economic challenges, local people attitudes, current bioenergy markets, and technologies are prerequisite while seeking to develop sustainable energy plants. The study aimed to assess expert attitudes on wood-based energy development in India. This assessment was based on the opinions of Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers who are involved in managing wood-based biomass resources in different parts of the country. The study gave emphasis to the advantages, problems, and directions of the biomass based energy development in the country. The results showed that the development of biomass-based energy plants involves a number of challenges both locally and nationally. In addition, the study also highlighted the possible benefits of developing biomass based energy plants at local and national levels. The outcomes of this study provide useful information to the policy decision makers, energy entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in the development of biomass based energy in India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy in the BRICS Countries)
Open AccessArticle Indian Farmers’ Perceptions and Willingness to Supply Surplus Biomass to an Envisioned Biomass-Based Power Plant
Challenges 2015, 6(1), 42-54; doi:10.3390/challe6010042
Received: 3 February 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (550 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main objectives of this socio-technical study are to investigate the Indian farmers’ biomass production capacities and their perceptions and willingness to supply their surplus biomass to fuel an envisioned biomass-based power plant in three selected Indian states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil
[...] Read more.
The main objectives of this socio-technical study are to investigate the Indian farmers’ biomass production capacities and their perceptions and willingness to supply their surplus biomass to fuel an envisioned biomass-based power plant in three selected Indian states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. For doing so, 471 farmers (about one-third from each state) have been interviewed in the field with info-sheet filled in by the field investigators. The farmers from all of the states appeared very much willing to sell their surplus biomass directly to a power plant. The farmers seem to depreciate the involvement of a middleman in the biomass procurement process. The farmers, however, appeared to highly appreciate a community-based association to regulate the biomass prices, with varying perceptions regarding government intervention. The majority of the farmers perceived the establishment of a biomass-based power plant in their region with positive economic outcomes. The farmers identified several barriers to supply biomass to a power plant where transportation logistics appeared to be the main barrier. The study recommends considering biomass collection, storage and transportation logistics as a fundamental segment of any envisioned investment in a biomass-based power plant. Biomass processing, such as pelletization or briquetting is recommended for efficient transportation of biomass at longer distances to reduce the transportation costs. The study further encourages the establishment of a farmers’ association aimed at collecting and selling biomass in agriculture areas predominant for small land holdings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy in the BRICS Countries)
Open AccessArticle Forest Biomass for Energy Production: Perceptions of State Forestry Professionals from China and India
Challenges 2014, 5(2), 338-350; doi:10.3390/challe5020338
Received: 14 July 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 October 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (298 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated perceptions of a group of Chinese and Indian state forestry professionals (SFPs) related to the potential benefits and challenges of developing forest-based bioenergy projects (FBPs) in their countries. A total of 110 SFPs participated in the study (55 from each
[...] Read more.
This study investigated perceptions of a group of Chinese and Indian state forestry professionals (SFPs) related to the potential benefits and challenges of developing forest-based bioenergy projects (FBPs) in their countries. A total of 110 SFPs participated in the study (55 from each country). The results showed that the SFPs widely agreed upon the potential economic and ecological benefits from developing FBPs in their countries. The economic benefits of job creation and additional income to forest departments were the two most accepted benefits by the SFPs. Two potential challenges of developing FBPs—namely, the lack of suitable technologies and the absence of supportive policies—were considered the most significant by the SFPs. Principal component analysis revealed three key dimensions (ecological, economic and social) of the SFPs’ perceptions of FBPs. The findings from the study imply that in order to become viable, the development of FBPs in these two countries must put emphasis on the sustainability aspects by addressing the environmental, economic and societal elements of FBPs. In addition, framing supportive policies, the development of technologies and building infrastructure for FBPs are needed for their successful implementation in China and India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy in the BRICS Countries)

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