Biomass energy in China and its potential

Li Jingjing, Zhuang Xing, Pat DeLaquil, Eric D. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Biomass is a significant source of energy in China today, particularly in rural areas. However, most current use of firewood and agricultural residues for cooking and heating brings with it detrimental effects of indoor air pollution and associated adverse health impacts. In addition, the time spent collecting biomass fuels creates a burden on women and children, which reduces their time available for more productive activities. The availability of clean, low-cost fuels for heat and power in rural areas based on modern biomass technologies could significantly increase living standards and would be helpful in promoting rural industrialization and the generation of employment in rural areas. In addition, since sustainable use of biomass leads to no net increase in CO2 emissions, there would be global climate benefits arising from the widespread use of biomass. This article discusses the size of the biomass resource base in China, the current status of modernized biomass technology development, and near- and mid-term commercial targets for implementation of modern bioenergy systems in China. The article also describes some advanced biomass conversion systems that might play a role in China's energy system in the longer term. Finally, it describes current barriers and constraints on increasing the penetration of modernized biomass energy in China, along with some policy suggestions for addressing these.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-80
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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